Sanderson and Mowrer win gold, bronze at World Cup USA

FORT BENNING, Ga. (April 2, 2014)

When it comes to days at the International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF) World Cup in Fort Benning, Ga., the U.S. team saved the best day for last.

On the final day of the ISSF World Cup season opener, six-time World Cup medalist and 2011 World Cup Finals bronze medalist Keith Sanderson (Colorado Springs, Colo., pictured right) claimed the gold medal in Men’s Rapid Fire Pistol. 2012 Free Pistol Olympian and member of the Pistol National Team Nick Mowrer (Butte, Mont., pictured below) picked up the first international medal of his career by winning bronze in the Men’s Prone Rifle event.

That’s right – he won a medal in Prone Rifle. Mowrer became the first American to compete internationally in two different guns (pistol and rifle). Mowrer qualified for today’s Final in seventh place with a score of 626.4.

“I just went in (to the match), trying to be confident, maybe over confident actually,” Mowrer said. “I don’t have as much experience as most of the shooters in the match and it’s probably a good thing today as it wasn’t’ a very windy day. It was just still conditions for the most part and that played to my favor on the experience side of things.”

After the first two series of shots, Mowrer sat in third place. When the match moved to single shots, Mowrer had the highest single shot (10.7 of 10.9) and moved into second place. After the following three, individual shots, Mowrer moved into first and held that position for most of the match. Eventually Henri Junghaenel of Germany would tie him for first position. On the shot just prior to the third-place elimination, Mowrer shot a 9.8 and was eliminated.

“In smallbore, your (shot) groups kind of move around a bit so you’ve got to constantly be on your sights and paying attention to it,” Mowrer said, in his usual, nonchalant manner. “I guess if I had to do it over again, that last shot would have come down a click before I took the next shot…but that’s sometimes how it goes.”

Junghaenel would hold on to win the gold and Gang Liu of China would win silver.

See what Mowrer’s National Team teammates had to say about his performance here:

Though Mowrer had not competed internationally in rifle, he has proven prior to this competition that he’s an accomplished rifleman. Mowrer said he uses smallbore rifle for cross training, but he also won the Distinguished Rifleman Badge from the Civilian Marksmanship Program before he was 16 years old and received his Distinguished Pistol Badge this past year. This bronze-medal win will give him the additional points for him to earn his Distinguished International Shooter Badge as well, an honor that has been awarded to fewer than 50 shooters. Learn more about this award here:

Michael McPhail (Darlington, Wis.) of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit scored 624 to finish in 17th place and his USAMU and 2012 Olympic teammate Eric Uptagrafft (Phenix City, Ala.) scored 623.9 for 18th place.

Sanderson won gold by a decisive margin – just prior to the series to determine gold and silver medals, Sanderson was leading by five hits (there are only five targets in Rapid Fire Pistol).

“That (final series) was the most nerve wracking,” he said. “The funny thing is you know you’ve won, you’ve already won and you could put the gun down and not shoot and you’re still going to win, but that was by far the hardest string I’ve shot all week…Your heart’s beating a million miles an hour, your muscles are moving in and out, I haven’t felt that much pressure since I was in the Final in Beijing in the Olympics.”

Sanderson got out to the lead early. During the first elimination series, he was tied for first with Alexi Klimov and Viatcheslav Kalioujnyi of Russia. When each shooter only got one hit, Sanderson took the lead and never looked back.

“I’ve had to relearn how to shoot, and go back to doing things like I used to, before the injury” said Sanderson, who is coming off surgery to his shooting arm. Sanderson said he has been having to tweak everything from how he warms up, how he approaches pre-event training; even his timing for each aspect of Rapid Fire Pistol competition. “I’ve trained in the last week or so specifically for the Final and to have a good performance in the Final and guess it worked out.”

Hear more about Sanderson’s training and this match here:

2013 World Cup Finals gold medalist Emil Milev (Temple Terrace, Fla.), who was in second place following yesterday’s Stage 1, fell to 12th place to finish with a score of 578. Brad Balsley (Uniontown, Pa. / USAMU) finished in 24th place with a score of 566.

Christian Reitz of Germany won the silver in Rapid Fire Pistol and Kehan Chen of China won the bronze medal.

The third U.S. medal at this World Cup event came earlier this week when Sarah Scherer (Woburn, Mass.) won bronze in Women’s Three-Position Rifle.

More than 430 athletes from 53 countries came to Fort Benning to compete in ten Olympic events in the Rifle and Pistol disciplines. Up next for the U.S. team is the ISSF World Cup for Shotgun in Tucson, Ariz., April 8 – 15.

To view results from this entire World Cup USA, please click here:

To view and download photos from today’s action, please click here:

Categories: Press Releases, World Cup USA 2014