Intensity and High Winds Challenge Competitors as First Shots Fired at 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials

TUCSON, Ariz. (May 18, 2012)

Trials LogoThe competitors lined up at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Shotgun have spent years of practice and thousands of rounds of ammo all with just one goal in mind. The pursuit of that goal -- a spot on the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team -- began today in Tucson, Ariz., at the Tucson Trap & Skeet Club.

If Friday’s intensity was any indication, the competition for securing one of the four Olympic Team spots available this weekend will be as heated as the desert sun pounding down upon the participants. The scores were as unpredictable as the high winds playing with the minds of the Olympic Trials field.

There was quite the shuffle in Women’s Trap where event leader Caitlin Barney Weinheimer (Kerrville, Texas) struggled on day one with 77/100 as a familiar face now stands atop the leader board.  2008 Olympic bronze medalist Corey Cogdell (Eagle River, Alaska) showed her experience in pressure situations hitting 91/100 targets to take the lead heading into the second of three days of competition. 

Kayle Browning (Wooster, Ark.) busted 89/100 targets and sits in second place currently while Kelsey Zauhar (Lakeville, Minn.) walked away hitting 87 targets and is in third place.  Headed into today’s competition Cogdell, Browning and Zahaur were in a tie for second position. Miranda Wilder (Diana, Texas) is fourth while Weinheimer sits in a tie for fifth position.  The performance of the day was laid down by Rachael Heiden (Clinton, Mich.).  Seventeen targets down coming into Friday after an unfortunate Fall Selection Match, Heiden broke an event-high 94 targets to climb back into the race for the lone Olympic Team spot available in Women’s Trap.  Currently tied with Weinheimer at 311 overall, Heiden will now move into the top squad of shooters with 150 targets to go. 

2008 Olympic gold medalist Glenn Eller (Katy, Texas) stands one day and 200 targets away from earning a berth to his fourth-straight Olympic Games.  However, his Olympic and U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) teammate Jeff Holguin (Yorba Linda, Calif.) won’t give him that spot without a fight and is within three targets of overtaking Eller.  Eller had a five-target advantage going into today, but Holguin’s 145/150 was the day’s high score and helped move him closer to the overall lead.  Billy Crawford (Johnstown, Ohio) is in third, six targets behind.   

Vincent HancockIn Men’s Skeet, 2008 Olympic champion Sergeant Vincent Hancock (USAMU/Eatonton, Ga.) extended his lead with four strong rounds. Dropping just two targets all day long, Hancock now holds an eight target lead with 344 total targets. In between rounds, while most shooters were relaxing and fueling up, Hancock gave his wife Rebekah a break and helped feed their three-month old baby girl Brenlyn. 

With two Men’s Skeet quotas up-for-grabs, the tension in the second part of the pack is tight.  All tied at 336 targets, Frank Thompson (Alliance, Neb.), BJ Blanchard (Vidor, Texas) and Mark Weeks (WCAP/Clinton Township, Mich.) are fighting for the second position.  Thompson, seeded fifth headed into this round of Trials, started the day with 25/25 targets.  Continuing the momentum, he lost four targets all day to remain in the race.  Blanchard also started with a straight 25 targets, but had difficulty in the last three rounds of the day to finish with 23-23-22 targets.  Weeks closed his day with a straight 25 targets to earn the second position in squadding for May 19.  Jon Michael McGrath (Tulsa, Okla.) scored 25 targets in his second round, but shot 21 in the fourth to finish in fifth position for 334 targets.  Shawn Dulohery (Lee’s Summit, Mo.) finished with 332 targets for sixth place.  Nineteen-year-old Dustin Perry (Lovelady, Texas) hit 94/100 targets to climb up the leader board and will be shooting among the top-six competitors when action begins Saturday. 

The Trials feature action in all of shotgun’s respective disciplines including Trap (M/W), Skeet (M/W) and Men’s Double Trap.  However, Olympic spots will only be available in women’s trap (1), men’s skeet (2) and men’s double trap (1).

In Men’s Trap, Jacob Turner (Richland, Wash.) leads the field by five targets while Collin Wietfeldt (Hemlock, Mich.), 329, Jake Wallace (Castaic, Calif.), 326, round out the top three.  In Women’s Skeet, Morgan Craft (Muncy Valley, Pa.) holds a slight one-point lead on Brandy Drozd (Bryan, Texas) while Caitlin Connor (Winnfield, La.) is down five targets in third.

  2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Shotgun Competition Schedule:

Saturday, May 19 – Trap & Skeet (100 Targets), Double Trap (150 Targets + FINAL)

Sunday, May 20 – Trap & Skeet (50 Targets + FINAL)

The TTSC has served southern Arizona’s shooting sportsman since its original incorporation in 1948. The club has been in its present location, west of historic Tucson, since early 1976 when construction on the 80-acre site was completed.  In preparation for the 2012 World Cup and its designated as a USA Shooting Certified Training Center, the club added 300 acres, five international bunker traps and seven new skeet fields. 

The U.S. Olympic Team Trials for all sports is a collaborative, three-way partnership between the U.S. Olympic Committee, the national governing bodies and the local organizing committees.  All athletes nominated to the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team must be approved by the U.S. Olympic Committee. 

For more information, please contact Kevin Neuendorf at 719-866-4605 or by e-mail at