Scherer & Milev Emerge as Front-runners on Day 1 of Women’s Three-Position Rifle & Men’s Rapid Fire Pistol

FORT BENNING, Ga. (June 6, 2012)

There’s going to be a shoot-out in Fort Benning the next two days and it will come in the form of Women’s 50m Three-Position Rifle and the battle for one additional Olympic Team nomination. The fireworks began today with a qualifying match and final that was as exceptional as many could remember.

Sarah SchererSarah Scherer (Woburn, Mass.), featured prominently in Wednesday’s USA Today (, laid down the mark to beat with an opening qualifying score of 590 points, just one shy of Jamie Gray’s (Lebanon, Pa.) National Record in the event. If that scored unnerved any of her competitors they didn’t show it in the final as four of the eight finalists would go on to out-shoot Scherer in the final after the Texas Christian University rifle shooter posted a 99.7 final. The top finalist on this day would be Gray, who after already securing her Olympic spot in the event is shooting for National honors and in continuation of her Olympic prep.  She would shoot 102.3 points.

Intent on not letting Scherer escape with a big lead on day one, Amy Sowash (Richmond, Ky.), Amanda Furrer (Spokane, Wash.) and Sarah Beard (Danville, Ind.) would top the century mark in the final to keep Scherer within easy reach.  However, Scherer’s world-class qualifying score would carry her to a day one victory overall with 689.7 points followed by Gray (689.3), Furrer (686.5), Sowash (686.4) and Beard (686.3). 

Emily Holsopple (Wilcox, Pa.), Kirsten Weiss (Cornwall, Pa.) and Sandy Fong (New York, N.Y.) would round-out today’s top-eight finishers. 

“In a situation like this, you truly have to focus on what you’re doing for yourself and try to avoid what’s going on around you,” said Furrer.  “I was really happy with my qualifying score [586] but then I looked down the line to see what else was going on only to find out that everyone’s scores were super high.  That might be some of the highest qualifying scores I’ve seen in years.  I guess that’s to be expected since it’s the Olympic Trials.” 

Emil MilevFour-time Olympian Emil Milev (Temple Terrace, Fla.) began his first Men’s 25m Rapid Fire Pistol U.S. Olympic Trials in a good position—first.  After one day of shooting, Milev leads with a one point advantage over teammate Keith Sanderson (WCAP/Colorado Springs, Colo.).  Milev shot 576 match points and 13 points in the final.  Milev, who was fourth in his last International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup in Milan, was previously an Olympic champion from Bulgaria.  Per IOC regulations, Milev sat-out the 2008 Olympic Games after obtaining his American citizenship and is competing to make his first U.S. Olympic Team. 

Sanderson set the Olympic Games match record in 2008 with 583 points, but finished fifth after a disappointing final and has a score to settle.  In the past four years, Sanderson has won five World Cup medals and has been on top of his game.  He recovered in today’s final with 15 points to finish with 588 points.  Specialist Sean Ragay (USAMU/Columbus, Ga.) is three points behind with 585 total points.  Sergeant Brad Balsley (USAMU/Uniontown, Pa.) shot the highest final of 17 hits to move into fourth place with 581 total points.

Action from the 11-day 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Smallbore (.22 caliber) and combined USA Shooting National Championships continues Thursday with day two of Women’s Three-Position Rifle & Men’s Rapid Fire Pistol along with the start of Men’s Air Rifle (non-Olympic) and Women’s Air Pistol (non-Olympic). Olympic selection for one women’s three-position rifle slot and the two nominees in men’s rapid fire pistolwill be determined after another match and final on Friday.  The last Olympic spot to be determined in Fort Benning will come in Men’s Three-Position Rifle which begins Saturday and will be complete on Monday, June 11. 

Categories: Press Releases, Olympic Games London 2012