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USA Sweeps Women’s Skeet Podium Plus Two Junior Silver Medals Today at the ISSF World Championship

CHANGWON, South Korea (September 11, 2018)

Today was a busy day for the USA Shooting Team as the United States’ won six medals  at the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Championship; including a Junior Men’s Skeet silver medal, a Junior Women’s Three-Position Rifle team medal and a sweep of the Women’s Skeet podium.

Winning her first international gold medal and the newly-crowned champion in Women’s Skeet is Caitlin Connor (Winnfield, Louisiana). All seven of the World Cup medals on Connor’s resume are silver – all coming when her teammate Kim Rhode won gold. Connor also won silver at the 2015 Shotgun World Championship in Lonato, Italy to close friend Morgan Craft. Today, however, Connor won gold, as well as the United States’ fourth Women’s Skeet World Championship title in a row.

“I knew I was going to win after the 30th target – if that makes any sense – so I kind of wanted to cry the whole time!” Connor said, laughing and crying at the same time. “I was pretty emotional during that Final because I’ve never had the feeling during a Final that I was going to win and the whole time I thought ‘I’m going to win this thing!’ I wanted to cry after my third pass through! I just kept thinking ‘Stay strong, focus on what you’re doing, and it will be fine.’”

Connor had to battle all the way to the end in the Final, besting her childhood idol-then-teammate Rhode (El Monte, California) on the Final station to win 57-56 targets. In the Final, Connor hadn’t missed a target until her 35th and 36th target.

“When I dropped those two on Station Four, I’m sure a lot of people thought I fell apart, but I literally just had a bad mount. I mounted really quickly,” Connor said. “I was like ‘Come on!’ I walked off, I missed two, I knew what I did -  just calm down. I missed a target on Station Five because of a mental thing, but it was really smooth otherwise and I was really proud of it. It pretty much came down to the last two targets for the gold and I knew I had broken that pair a hundred times. I felt really confident and good about it.”

Rhode went on to claim the silver medal, the fourth World Championship medal of her career. Amber English (Colorado Springs, Colorado/U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit) won the bronze medal with 46 targets. English also won Junior Women’s Skeet silver back in 2009.

“I’m happy for Caitlin,” said Rhode. “She worked her butt off.” The pair could be seen during the match giving each other congratulatory fist bumps after a good station.

The last time the United States had swept an Open [adult] podium at a World Championship was in 1974 when John Writer, Lones Wigger and Lanny Bassham swept the 50m Men’s Three-Position Rifle podium in Thun, Switzerland.

“There was a lot of pressure going into this knowing that the United States had won the last three Women’s Skeet World Championship titles and originally I thought about that on the first round out,” Connor said. “But I think us sweeping was a big deal. Our United States’ Skeet shooting team is competitive – even our Junior women are very competitive. I have to say winning a medal overseas is nowhere near as challenging as making a team in the United States. That’s the biggest challenge.”

In addition to the podium sweep, the United States claimed the maximum number of two Olympic Games quotas available in Women’s Skeet. A quota is essentially a country’s ticket to participate in the upcoming 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan in a specific event. Each country can only earn two quotas per event.

Connor, Rhode and English also won gold as a team in Women’s Skeet. Italy won silver and Cyprus won the bronze. The United States has won team gold at the previous two World Championship as well in 2017 and 2015.

Also winning individual silver today was Nic Moschetti (Broomfield, Colorado) in Junior Men’s Skeet. Moschetti dropped his last target in the Final to take silver 55-54 to gold medalist Elia Sdruccioli of Italy.

“The scores over here have been incredible for a Junior match,” Moschetti said. “I was lucky enough to walk into the Final after a shootoff with bib Number One – which is always good to enter at the top of the pack. Struggled a bit but was able to pull it through and regain some ground after a couple passes. Made for an exciting finish!”

Moschetti was in a three-way tie for the top spot after Qualification with a score of 121. Moschetti won the shootoff to have the top bib number. During the elimination for the bronze medal, Moschetti was tied with Gurnihal Singh Garcha of India with 46 targets. Since Moschetti had the better bib number, he was able to continue in the competition. When Moschetti missed his last target, Sdruccioli hit it to win the gold.

“I’ve competed against Elia for a couple years now, so it was nice that it came down to he and I – of course I wish I would have come out on top – but I was happy for him as well,” Moschetti said.

Eli Christman (Hixson, Tennessee) finished in 15th place with a score of 116 targets and Alex Ahlin (Bamberg, South Carolina) finished in 37th place with a score of 109.

In Junior Women’s Three-Position Rifle, Morgan Phillips (Salisbury, Maryland) was the top finisher for the United States in fourth place. She entered the Final with the top Qualification score of 1171. Once in the Final, Phillips led after the Kneeling and Prone stages. Once in the Standing stage, Phillips shot an 8.9 on the fourth-place elimination shot for an ending score of 434.3.

Elizabeth Marsh (Searcy, Arkansas) finished in 20th place with a score of 1148 and Kristen Hemphill (Lohn, Texas) finished in 32nd place with a score of 1142. The team of Phillips, Marsh and Hemphill won a team silver medal for their cumulative score in this event. China won the team gold medal and Russia won the team bronze medal.

Complete results: https://www.issf-sports.org/competitions/venue.ashx?cshipid=1750.

The start of Target Sprint, Men’s 25m Centerfire Pistol, 300m Standard Rifle, 300m Women’s Three-Position Rifle and Junior Men’s 25m Sport Pistol will be contested tomorrow at the World Championship.

The 52nd ISSF World Championship runs through September 15 at the Changwon International Shooting Range. More than 1,800 athletes from 91 countries have gathered in Changwon to compete in the 15 Olympic Shooting events, as well as 51 non-Olympic events across five disciplines.

Check out the complete World Champs U.S. Team preview in the latest edition of USA Shooting News: http://www.usashooting.org/news/usasnews/2018-Q2-USASNews/index.html.

Complete schedule of the ISSF World Championship (Changwon is 13 hours ahead of the Eastern Time Zone): http://www.issf-sports.org/media/calendar/2018/1750/WCH_All_KOR_2018_Final_Competition_Schedule_Picto_20180830_with_VC.pdf.

Be sure to follow the team online throughout the World Championship: 

 

Categories: Press Releases, 2018 World Championship