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Beard and Sanderson Seventh at World Cup USA

FORT BENNING, Georgia (May 12, 2018)

Sarah Beard marked her return to international competition today by finishing in seventh place in Women’s Three-Position Rifle at the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup in Fort Benning, Georgia.

Beard qualified for the Final in fourth place with a score of 1170 (the top eight athletes move on the Final). Though she had a bit of a cushion, Beard was surprised she qualified for the Final at all following a few stray, low-scoring shots.

“At the end of the match, I got off the line and didn’t even look at [the scoreboard] because I assumed I didn’t make it,” said Beard. “But then [teammate Ginny Thrasher] was like ‘Good luck in the Final!’ and I looked at the screen and I thought ‘What? Holy cow! I made the Final!”

Beard (Danville, Indiana) has been off the international circuit since the 2016 World Cup Finals. Shortly after, she joined the Army and moved to Fort Gordon in Augusta, Georgia. The 2nd Lt. has been immersed in the Basic Officer Leadership Course and tries to squeeze in three days of training during the week with her rigorous schedule, dry firing and utilizing a SCATT machine (a program that traces the small movements of the end of the rifle) to train when she can. She also makes the four-hour trip each way to Fort Benning on the weekends to shoot whenever possible.

“I didn’t know what to expect as I really didn’t have anything to compare it to, in terms of recent matches,” Beard said. “But it was really good in terms of my holds. I learned a lot about what I need to be working on. I’ve been dry firing a lot. I think 90 percent of my training has been dry firing, which is vastly different than when I lived at the Olympic Training Center…I had a few wild shots and I know with the more live fire I get, the more it will settle down.”

Once in the Final, Beard hovered in the middle of the pack through the kneeling and prone series, but a couple of low-scoring shots in the start of the standing series eliminated her in seventh.

“Having a little more control of the Final and getting the feel of it better is something I need to work on,” she said. “This was a good benchmark for me of what I need to do to move forward and what I need to work on looking toward World Championships.” Beard qualified for the USA Shooting Team that will compete at the ISSF World Championship later this summer in Changwon, South Korea.

Missing out on the Final by the narrowest of margins was TCU standout Rachel Garner (Celina, Texas). She and three other athletes finished Qualification with a score of 1165 for the last spot in the Final. The tie was decided by inner tens (or X count – the number of shots on a smaller ring inside the 10-ring only used for tie-breaking procedures). Isabella Straub of Germany and Petra Zublasing had 58x to Garner’s 50x so Garner lost the tiebreaker to advance to the Final. One of Garner’s coaches at TCU, Hannah Black (Richmond, Virginia), finished in 21st place with a score of 1158.

Snjezana Pejcic of Croatia won the gold medal, Ting Jian of China won silver and Xiangyan Wan, also of China, won the bronze.

Just missing the Men’s Rapid Fire Pistol Final by one point today was three-time Olympian Keith Sanderson (Colorado Springs, Colorado). Sanderson finished in seventh place overall with a score of 578 (Rapid Fire Pistol only has six athletes in its Final). Finishing in 12th place was 18-year-old Jack Leverett (Bainbridge, Georgia) with a score of 572. Alex Chichkov (Temple Terrace, Florida) did not finish the competition.

In Women’s Air Pistol, Alexis Lagan (Boulder City, Nevada) finished in 20th place. Sandra Uptagrafft (Phenix City, Alabama) finished in 23rd place with a score of 566 and 17-year-old Sarah Choe (Los Angeles, California) finished in 24th place with a score of 565. Lagan and Uptagrafft will also compete in the Mixed Air Pistol Team event tomorrow.

Competition continues tomorrow with the Mixed Air Pistol and Mixed Air Rifle Team events. The ISSF World Cup for Rifle and Pistol concludes on May 15. More than 350 athletes from 53 nations are competing at this event in the 10 Olympic Rifle and Pistol events. A complete listing of start lists, events and results can be found at:  http://www.issf-sports.org/competitions/venue.ashx?cshipid=2392.

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National Shooting Sports Foundation