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Twelve Skeet Athletes Earn World Championship Selection at Spring Selection

TUCSON, Arizona (March 25, 2018)

Prior to this week’s Spring Selection Shotgun Match, it was touted about the degree of difficulty in making the U.S. Skeet Team for the upcoming World Championships. That proved prophetic particularly for the final spot on both the Men’s Open and Junior Teams Saturday as four days of intense skeet competition concluded with 12 outstanding shotgun representatives now bound for Changwon, South Korea.  

The nation’s top shotgun competitors have converged on the Tucson Trap and Skeet Club for the Spring Selection Match that concludes Sunday when 12 more Trap athletes earn their World Championships selection.   

The 12 athletes earning top honors in skeet to represent America’s shooting team at the 2018 International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Championships, August 31-September 14, have earned 21 medals at previous World Championships in both individual and team events. 

Vincent Hancock (Eatonton, Georgia) spent most of 2017 away from competition following his 2016 Olympic run, but there’s no sign of any rust.  With 500 qualification targets thrown during the two Selection Matches (Fall 2017 and Spring 2018), Hancock missed just five targets and won both Finals to capture the top overall spot by 11 targets.  In Changwon, Hancock will be looking to build upon his already historic World Champs resume in trying to become the first four-time World Champion in Skeet. 

Phillip Jungman (Caldwell, Texas) is already a two-time World Championships medalist as a junior and will be looking to add some hardware in the open ranks after securing the second-place finish by six targets. 

All the drama in Tucson on this day was reserved for the final spot as Frank Thompson (Alliance, Nebraska) and Dustan Taylor (U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit/Staley, North Carolina) put up a duel for the ages.  Thompson had a one-point advantage on Taylor heading into the Final, but Taylor would shoot 54/60 while Thompson could only muster a 53 to ensure a tiebreaker scenario, forcing a complete additional round, then another and then another. Thompson nor Taylor would miss, not through the first tie-breaker round, nor the second and it wasn’t until the final five targets in the third round where Taylor would miss a target to give Thompson his fifth World Championship opportunity in seven tries.   

In the Junior Men’s ranks, 16-year-old Alexander Ahlin (Bamberg, South Carolina) used a blistering Final, shooting 58/60, to overcome a five-target deficit to Eli Christman (Hixson, Tennessee) to earn the top spot.  Christman makes his second straight World Championships team and will be joining his 2017 teammate Nic Moschetti (Broomfield, Colorado), who also made the squad after winning a shoot-off round 25/20 to Trey Wright (Albany, Georgia).

Twenty-three years after making her first World Championship squad as a 15-year-old, Kim Rhode (El Monte, California) made her 14th World Championship Team in most convincing fashion, eclipsing her next nearest competitor by 13 targets. Amber English (Colorado Springs, Colorado) had to miss most of the 2017 competition season after enlisting in the Army, but she found her form once again to finish second.  It will be just her second World Champs event and first since 2010.  Caitlin Connor (Winnfield, Louisiana) made her sixth World Championship Team as she was able to fend off reigning World Champion Dania Vizzi (Odessa, Florida). 

In the Junior Women’s ranks, 16-year-old Austen Smith (Keller, Texas) was the top performer, earning a four-point advantage over reigning Junior World Champion Katie Jacob (Rochester, Michigan) while Samantha Simonton (Gainesville, Georgia) earned the third and final spot.  This is the exact same team that made history at last year’s World Championship with a podium sweep, as Smith finished second to Jacob and Simonton was third.

With one day remaining in Trap, Jake Wallace (Castaic, California) owns a two-target advantage over 16-year-old Grayson Davey (Anchorage, Alaska) with five-time Olympian Glenn Eller (USAMU/Katy, Texas) just one target back of Davey.  Eller is ahead by five targets over his Army teammate Derek Haldeman (Sunbury, Ohio).

On the women’s side, Aeriel Skinner (Jackson, California), Ashley Carroll (Solvang, California) and Kayle Browning-Thomas (Wooster, Arkansas) are one day away from securing a World Champs bid.  Skinner has a one-target lead over Carroll while Browning-Thomas is four targets back of Carroll.  The next nearest competitor to this trio is Julia Stallings (Rossville, Tennessee), currently seven targets shy of Browning-Thomas.     

RESULTS:  https://bit.ly/2DSSi2v

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