Winter Airgun Championships Provide Intrigue and Youthful Energy

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (December 8, 2014)

The intrigue of performance under pressure, combined with youthful energy and success summarizes all that was special about the 2014 Winter Airgun (WAG) Championships.  Record numbers competed while 12 athletes got their 2015 shooting season jump started with the best performances of the weekend.

More than 350 collegiate rifle athletes, Paralympic shooters, National and National Junior Team members and Junior Olympic participants competed in three separate matches Friday, Saturday and Sunday for top honors and a guaranteed spot in the 2015 World Cup season opener that takes place in early April in Changwon, South Korea. The top-three athletes in each of the four events accumulating the most aggregate points over the three-day event earned nomination to the season-opening World Cup.  Nomination still doesn’t ensure USA Shooting funding for those athletes, however, as minimum performance standards have been established.   For more info on PSS, click here

Additionally, Winter Airgun was serving as Part I of a two-part selection process to determine World Cup competitors for events two and three on the schedule.  The top-10 ranked athletes following Winter Airgun will be invited to participate in the Final Selection Match slated for April with World Cup spots up for grabs for Munich (Germany) and Ft. Benning, Georgia.

With detailed discipline recaps found below, here’s a look at the weekend highlights that stood out the most:

  • 12 athletes earn World Cup Changwon (Korea) Nominations
  • Men’s Pistol athlete Will Brown nearly breaks Finals World Record
  • 18-year-old Lydia Paterson Wins 5 of 6 Women’s Pistol Events
  • Bryant Wallizer, Courtney Anthony and Sarah Beard Achieve Performance Standard Score
  • 12-year-old Carson Saabye Makes Two Open Finals and Breaks National Record in Women’s Air Pistol while Scoring National Junior Olympic Team Status
  • 15-year-old Sarah Osborn finishes second twice to earn World Cup status in Women’s Air Rifle

To read what WAG event helped re-confirm shooting’s uniqueness and popularity as a sport, click here.

Men’s Air Rifle

Boosted by two out of three finals victories, Ryan Anderson (Wasilla, Alaska) was the top point getter in Men’s Air Rifle.  Anderson shot the third highest qualifying score (624.1) of the weekend.  Joining him among the top three was Bryant Wallizer (Little Orleans, Maryland) and U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit athlete Dan Lowe (Olympian, Washington).  These three were the only athletes earning a trip in all three finals. Wallizer shot the highest qualifying score of 625.7 while Lowe was aided by his win in the Sunday final. Wallizer is the only USA Shooting athlete to have reached the new Performance Standard Score (PSS) of 625 needed to obtain funding for 2015 World Cup events. Athletes must obtain the standard twice before funding can be achieved.

On the junior side, Air Forcecadet Tyler Rico (Tucson, Arizona) was the decisive winner courtesy of two wins and a second-place finish while also achieving the best qualifying score of 624.2. A pair of West Virginia Mountaineers Garrett Spurgeon (Canton, Missouri) and Jean-Pierre Lucas (Dunlevy, Pennsylvania) finished second and third overall.

Men’s Air Pistol

Will Brown (Twin Falls, Idaho) was the class of the Men’s Air Pistol field highlighted by a win Sunday that nearly broke the world record.  His finals score of 202.7 was just 1/10th off the mark set by Vietnam shooter Xuan Hoang in Fort Benning earlier this year.  How good was his score?  He achieved that mark despite an 8.9 on his third to last shot or the record would easily be his. The Army will be well-represented in Changwon with both James Henderson (USAMU/Midland, Georgia) and Greg Markowski (USAMU/Columbus, Georgia) making top-three.  Brown, who had two wins overall, shot the best qualifying score of the weekend Sunday with a 580 while Henderson and Markowski’s scores of 579 were second-best along with Stephen Lutz (Tonganoxie, Kansas) who reached that mark Saturday.  Markowski’s  mark achieved Sunday in combination with a third-place finish helped him edge out Olympians Nick Mowrer (Butte, Montana) and Jason Turner (Rochester, New York).  Turner finished first Friday and second Sunday, but a seventh-place finish Saturday and lower qualifying scores ultimately cost him. The established PSS for World Cup funding in Men’s Air Pistol is 582.

Junior World Champion Alex Chichkov (Temple Terrace, Florida) ended his exciting 2014 with a convincing win in the junior event.  Chichkov defeated second-place finisher Justin Ahn (Diamond Bar, California) by 27 points overall with superb qualifying scores and two finals victories. Will’s younger brother, Wyatt Brown (Twin Falls, Idaho), was third.

Women’s Air Rifle

A 15-year-old from Hampton, Virginia, was the star of this show as Sarah Osborn showcased great skill, and composure in making two of three open event finals finishing second both times while finishing second overall in both open and junior divisions as well. 

Meanwhile, Sarah Beard (Danville, Indiana) was tops overall after achieving the top qualifying score of 417.4, which is above the PSS mark of 417.  She’d make two of the three finals, finishing fourth and fifth.  Finishing third by .5 points was former Murray State rifle product Emily Quiner (Brooklyn Park, Minnesota) who edged out Air Force Academy cadet Meredith Carpentier (Waukegan, Illinois) with both picking up a win and a third-place finish.  Alaska Nanook standout Sagen Maddalena (Groveland, California) was the only athlete in the field to make all three finals but wound up fifth.  Giving her match success, Quiner was presented her USA Shooting Team jacket for the first time during the awards ceremony as a member of the Development Team.

On the junior side, Nebraska rifle’s Rachel Martin (Peralta, New Mexico) was the top competitor by virtue of her two event victories.  Osborn was second followed by 16-year-old Rhiann Travis (Poolville, Texas) who finished first and second in two junior events while making two of the three open finals.

Women’s Air Pistol

An 18-year-old Lydia Paterson (Kansas City, Kansas) was the most dominant performer of the weekend by winning five of the six matches she competed in for Women’s Air Pistol while taking top open and junior overall. She was absolutely in control during the finals on her way to sweeping all three open finals and averaging a 5.05 margin of victory in the five finals she won. Joining her among the top-three was Courtney Anthony (USAMU/Lexington, Nebraska) and Teresa Chambers (Dearborn, Michigan).  Anthony shot a match high qualifying score of 384 Saturday, which is noted as the PSS mark in this event.  Chambers earned the nod by virtue of winning a shoot-off match against Alana Townsend (Kalispell, Montana) after the two had tied after three matches. 

Despite such a dominating performance, Paterson was nearly overshadowed by the remarkable arrival of 12-year-old Carson Saabye (Larkspur, Colorado) to the Women’s Pistol scene.  Defying both age and experience, Saabye was on top of her game in earning a spot in two open finals, finishing fifth and sixth while finishing sixth overall.  On the junior side, the middle school student was second overall picking up a medal of each color in the process.  She was rewarded for her performance by earning a spot on the National Junior Olympic Team.


Paralympic competition was also contested during Winter Airgun with 20 athletes participating including athletes from the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit and Semper Fi Fund.  Event winners include Matthew Benack (Jacksonville, North Carolina),  John Joss (USAMU/Corsicana, Texas), Tammy Delano (Rome, New York), McKenna Dahl (Arlington, Washington) and Eric Trueblood (USAMU/Colorado Springs, Colorado). National Paralympic coach Bob Foth noted the following highlights:  Delano shot a personal record of 406.9 in R2, which would have qualified her fourth at the 2014 IPC World Championships. Joss recorded the high score each day in R3 qualifying while his USAMU teammate Trueblood did the same in P1 qualifying. Jazmine Almlie (Houston, Texas) shot a personal record in R5 while earning both gold and silver medals in the R3/R5 combo daily final. Nick Beach (Arlington, Washington) and Dahl each won one gold in the R3/R5 combo daily final as well. 

For complete WAG results, click here.  For Selection Results, click here

Categories: Press Releases, 2014 Winter Airgun Championships