Munich World Cup a Litmus Test for USA Shooting Team

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 3, 2014)

With just 95 days until the start of international shooting’s biggest event, the 2014 International Shooting Sport World Championships, anxiety is high for the season’s biggest World Cup of the season set for Munich, Germany, beginning Friday.  

Munich is the season’s biggest litmus test for top international shooting athletes trying to gauge where preparation stands for World Championships and the highly-anticipated commencement of Olympic qualifying for 2016. The best athletes from around the globe are expected to compete including a USA Shooting Team that will number 35 and include 14 Olympians. Overall, nearly 1,300 competitors from 96 nations are expected to compete, a number that will virtually double when the World Championships are contested in September in Granada, Spain. 

Trap events kick things off and six competitors will be looking to break into the medal-winning success the USA Shooting Team for Shotgun has had to begin 2014.  Every discipline but Trap has won a medal already in 2014 and it will be up to Janessa Beaman (Colorado Springs, Colorado), Victoria Burch (Mountain Home, Texas), Ashley Carroll (Solvang, California), Ryan Hadden (USAMU/Pendleton, Oregon), Seth Inman (Independence, Missouri) and Jake Wallace (Castiac, California) to try and change that pattern.  

Shotgun success has been a reoccurring theme to start 2014 for the USA Shooting Team with six World Cup medals through two events to add to the impressive total of seven hauled in by junior team members in Suhl, Germany, last week in the ISSF Junior Cup. 

Kim Rhode (El Monte, California) is making this competitive shooter/motherhood life balance thing look rather simple following back-to-back medals to mark her return to the international shooting scene after a prolonged post-London absence due to the birth of her son, Carter.  She earned a bronze medal in the season-opening World Cup in Tucson and then backed that up with a gold-medal performance in Almaty, Kazakhstan.  She’ll shoot skeet along with Haley Dunn (Eddyville, Iowa) and Brandy Drozd (Bryan, Texas).  Drozd earned a World Cup medal last year in Tucson and just missed a medal this year there falling to Rhode in the bronze-medal match, which ended in a shoot-off after the two tied with 14 hits apiece. 

Josh Richmond (USAMU/Hillsgrove, Pennsylvania) joins Rhode as a two-time medal winner in 2014 with two straight silver medals in Double Trap. He lost a shoot-off to teammate Jeff Holguin (USAMU/Yorba Linda, California) in Tucson. With Richmond’s booming confidence and Holguin’s first career World Cup victory already in the bag this season, plus the addition of Olympic gold medalist and reigning World Champion Glenn Eller (USAMU/Houston, Texas) who sat out of the Almaty World Cup, chances are good this trio will be mining more medals in Munich.  This combination rarely visits any range in the world without prospecting some hardware.  In 31 events since 2008 including Olympic Games, World Championships, World Cup Finals and World Cups, an American has finished lower than sixth only six times.  In the eight events since the disappointment in London where no American finished in the top-eight, only once [World Cup Cyprus] has an American finished lower than fifth.   In that stretch, the U.S. team has earned six medals.  Since 2008, the U.S. Men’s Double Trap Team has won 19 medals in 31 events. 

Men’s skeet entries for the USA Shooting Team include 2014 Tucson World Cup bronze medalist Dustin Perry (Lovelady, Texas), along with two-time Olympic gold medalist Vincent Hancock (Eatonton, Georgia) and his Olympic teammate Frank Thompson (Alliance, Nebraska). 

On the rifle side, 2012 Olympian Sarah Scherer (Woburn, Massachusetts) will lead the 10-person squad into competition courtesy of her bronze-medal performance at the season’s first Rifle/Pistol World Cup in Ft. Benning, Georgia, in March. Scherer earned the second World Cup medal of her career in March in the Three-Position Rifle event. She’ll be joined by three-time Olympic medalist Matt Emmons (Browns Mills, New Jersey) who marked his return to international competition in Ft. Benning with a finals entry and sixth-place performance.  Emmons sat out all of 2013 but has looked good since his return.  

Two 2012 Olympians, Michael McPhail (Darlington, Wisconsin) and Amanda Furrer (Spokane), are also competing along with Ryan Anderson (Great Falls, Va.), Dempster Christenson (Sioux Falls), Connor Davis (Shelbyville, Kentucky), Sarah Beard (Danville, Indiana), Amy Sowash (Richland, Kentucky) and Sagen Maddalena (Groveland, California).  Sowash was also a finalist alongside Scherer in Ft. Benning earlier this year, finishing fourth. Christenson was an air rifle silver medalist at last year's World Cup stage in Ft. Benning.

Recent World Cup USA gold medalist Keith Sanderson (Colorado Springs) returns to competition in his featured event of Rapid Fire to help lead the 10-person pistol squad into action along with four-time Olympian and 1996 Olympic silver medalist Emil Milev (Temple Terrace, Florida), three-time Olympian and 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Jason Turner (Rochester, N.Y.) and 2012 Olympian Sandra Uptagrafft (Phenix City, Ala.).  Those three will be joined by Will Brown (Twin Falls, Idaho), James Henderson (USAMU/Midland, Ga.), John Zurek (Tucson), Brad Balsley (Uniontown, Pennsylvania) Teresa (Meyer) Chambers (Dearborn, Mich.) and Enkelejda Shehaj (Naples, Fla.).  Brown was a World Cup winner in 2013 in Ft. Benning.  

All competitors minus Burch are destined for the 2014 World Championships later this summer.  Burch was added in women’s trap given the absence of two-time National Champion Rachael Heiden (Clinton, Mich.) who declined the trip as she recently entered PA (Physician Assistant) school through the University of Colorado.  Athletes qualified for the team at recent USA Shooting selection matches held earlier this year.

Munich World Cup Schedule

Friday, June 6                       Women’s Trap Qualifying + Final; Men’s Trap Qualifying (50 Targets)

Saturday, June 7                   Men’s Trap Qualifying + Final

Sunday, June 8                     Women’s Sport Pistol (Precision); Men’s Free Pistol (Elimination); M/W Air Rifle + Final

Monday, June 9                    Women’s Sport Pistol (Rapid Fire) + Final; Men’s Free Pistol + Final; Men’s Prone Rifle                                                                    (Elimination); Men’s Double Trap + Final; Rapid Fire Pistol (Stage 1)

Tuesday, June 10                 Rapid Fire Pistol (Stage 2) + Finals; Prone Rifle + Finals; Women’s 3P Rifle (Elimination)

Wednesday, June 11           Men’s Air Pistol + Final; Women’s 3P Rifle + Final; Women’s Skeet Qualifying + Final;                                                                       Men’s Skeet Qualifying (50 Targets); Men’s 3P Rifle (Elimination)

Thursday, June 12                Women’s Air Pistol + Final; Men’s 3P Rifle + Final; Men’s Skeet Qualifying + Final

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