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WORLD CHAMPS PREVIEW: Talented Women’s Skeet Squad Ready for Russia

MOSCOW (September 4, 2017)

All-world potential.  Kim Rhode (left), Caitlin Connor (center) and Dania Vizzi.The six women’s Skeet athletes representing the United States at the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Championship for Shotgun this week will bring loads of experience, medals and talent when they take to the field in Russia on Thursday.

Leading the squad with the top qualification for the World Championship team is 2015 World Championship silver medalist Caitlin Connor (Winnfield, Louisiana). Connor is looking to break her silver streak at this World Championship as she won silver at the World Cup in Acapulco, Mexico earlier this year, along with three other silver World Cup medals.

“It’s an honor to have earned the right to compete in my fifth World Championship,” Connor said. “The opportunity to do so with the quality of competition we have in the U.S. in Women’s Skeet is not a given for anyone. I am very excited to compete alongside my teammates in Russia.”

Read the current feature on Connor in the latest edition of USA Shooting News.

Connor is joined by three-time World Championship medalist, six-time Olympic medalist, five-time World Cup Finals medalist and 27-time World Cup medalist Kim Rhode (El Monte, California), whom Connor edged out for the top spot in the grueling, three-part World Championship Team selection process. This match will be Rhode’s 15th World Championship appearance. 

Despite being the first American and just second person ever to earn six consecutive Olympic medals, Rhode isn’t stopping there. She has shrugged off any chance of a respite by winning three times on the international shooting circuit since Rio, and the one time she didn’t win, she finished second. 

Rounding out this talented Open squad is three-time World Championship medalist Dania Vizzi (Odessa, Florida). Vizzi won her three World Championship medals in the Junior ranks (one gold, one silver and one bronze), and is proving her move to the Open division is looking just as promising as she snagged the final spot in the team selection process with her decisive win at the USA Shooting National Championships where she set a new National Record of 246 targets.

 “It’s my first World Championships as an Open lady – I’ve been as a Junior – but feel like this is a step above that,” said Vizzi. “I feel like there’s a lot more pressure on me to do well in Open, but I have to say, it’s been a lot of fun so far!”

Since 2010, the U.S. has placed at least one person on the Women’s Skeet podium in all but one of the five World Championships contested.  In team competition, the U.S. has medaled three different times during that span including two wins.

Jr. World Team members Sam Simonton (left), Austen Smith (center) and Katie Jacob.The Junior squad is led by Katie Jacob (Rochester, Michigan) who is heading to Moscow fresh off her Junior World Cup gold medal win just two weeks ago in Porpetto, Italy.

“I feel like even though I won gold, there was still room for improvement,” Jacob said. “This match (in Italy) gave me a good read on things I need to work on going into Moscow and I’m just going to keep training hard until then. I think that our team did very well and is capable of doing even better in Moscow.”

Jacob competed as a World Team member in 2015 making the Junior Final and finishing sixth.  She was also as part of the winning skeet team that won a junior world title alongside Vizzi and Sydney Carson.  The junior standout has also shined in the open class as well, earning a bronze medal at World Cup Nicosia (Cyprus) and finishing fourth earlier this year in Acapulco.

All three members of the Junior Women’s Skeet team qualified for the Final in Porpetto. In her first international appearance at the Junior World Cup, 16-year-old Austen Smith (Kellar, Texas) just missed a medal when she finished in fourth place. Sam Simonton (Gainesville, Georgia) finished in sixth place in Porpetto and in fifth place at the Junior World Cup in Suhl, Germany last year. Simonton finished in third place overall at the USA Shooting National Championships.

These three juniors will be looking to keep an impressive streak alive that includes eight straight World Championships with an American on the podium.  Juniors have been included in World Championship competition since 2001 and just twice (2005 & 2002) has the U.S. walked away without a medal.  The U.S. has also medaled in each of the eight team competitions contested at the World Championships since 2002, including six world titles. 

Competition continues through September 10, concluding with the Mixed Skeet Team event. Look for the Men’s Skeet Preview to be released Tuesday.

More than 600 athletes from 73 countries will compete at this World Championship at the Foxlodge Shooting Range in Moscow. For more information, visit the World Championship website and follow along with results on the ISSF website.

 

SHOTGUN World Champs Schedule

NOTE: Moscow is seven (7) hours ahead of Eastern Time Zone. 

Thursday, September 7                 Men’s & Women’s Skeet (50 Targets) – 1:00 am ET start 

Friday, September 8                       Men’s & Women’s Skeet (25 Targets) – 1:00 am ET start

                                Jr. Women’s FINAL – 10:00 am ET

                                Women’s FINAL– 11:00 am ET 

Saturday, September 9                  Men’s Skeet (50 Targets)

Jr. Men’s FINAL – 10:00 am ET

Men’s FINAL – 11:00 am ET 

Sunday, September 10                   Skeet Mixed Team Qualification – 1:30 am ET start

Skeet Mixed Team FINAL – Semis @ 8:15 am ET

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