Depth On Display as Part One of 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Shotgun Rolls On

TUCSON, Arizona (October 13, 2015)

2012 Olympian Frank Thompson and World No.2-ranked Caitlin Connor are among the contenders in a power-packed field ready to compete in Men's Skeet, Women's Skeet and Double Trap for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team TrialsYou can’t win an Olympic Team spot in Tucson this week, but you sure can lose it.  That’s what is on the minds of a deep and talented field of competitors in Men’s Skeet, Women’s Skeet and Men’s Double Trap as they eye the start of competition for part one of the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials.

Men’s and Women’s Skeet gets underway Wednesday morning in a competition that will feature the world’s No. 2-ranked skeet shooter, a five-time Olympic medalist, a 2012 Olympian and plenty of other firepower anxious to try and assume a position that could lead them to Rio de Janeiro.  

Sixty-six athletes now take their turn at the Tucson Trap and Skeet Club following the conclusion of Men’s and Women’s Trap Monday.  For a recap of Men’s and Women’s Trap, click here.   Tucson is serving as part one of a two-part intensive U.S. Olympic Team Trials to select four Olympic Team members that will conclude next May in Tillar, Arkansas. 

Men’s Skeet

In Men’s Skeet, Frank Thompson (Alliance, Nebraska) won the second Men’s Skeet spot during the 2012 Olympic Team Trials in a dramatic shoot-off in Tucson in 2012.  He’ll look to set-up his next Olympic run this year with a good start in Tucson this time around. He’ll be met with plenty of challengers including 2015 World Cup teammates and good friends TJ Bayer (College Station, Texas) and Dustin Perry (Lovelady, Texas).  Bayer earned Pan Am gold this summer to secure the second Olympic quota in this event while Perry has shown he loves shooting in the desert having won his first World Cup medal on the grounds of the Tucson Trap & Skeet Club back in 2014. He also marked his arrival on to the men’s skeet scene back in 2012 with a remarkable showing during the Trials.  Other contenders will include Phillip Jungman (Caldwell, Texas), a junior shooter who has earned World Championship medals in each of the last two years, and Mark Weeks (Clinton Township, Michigan) who was involved in the shoot-off in 2012. 

“It has been a lifelong dream to become an Olympic athlete and I am anxiously awaiting the opportunity to make my dreams a reality,” Perry said. “We have an immensely talented group of shooters so I expect the competition to be as tough as any I have ever experienced.” 

Women’s Skeet

Rightfully so, all eyes are on the five-time Olympic medalist Kim Rhode (El Monte, California).  She didn’t have to compete in Olympic Trials in lead-up to London given her international success the year prior.  This time she enters with just one remaining spot left to claim and will face the strongest contingent of competitors she’s faced in two decades of shotgun supremacy.  Reigning National Champion Caitlin Connor (Winnfield, Louisiana) is ranked No. 2 in the world after taking silver behind Olympian Morgan Craft (Muncy Valley, Pennsylvania) at the recent World Championships.  She’s poised to try and end Rhode’s reign atop the sport.  Just how deep is the women’s skeet field?  Let’s just say that the 2014 World Champion Brandy Drozd (Byran, Texas) couldn’t even crack the World Cup travel roster this year after her triumphant run a season ago. Also likely to be a part of the mix is three-time World Championships junior medalist Dania Vizzi (Odessa, Florida), who finished third in the open division at National Championships.  Haley Dunn (Eddyville, Iowa) was a World Cup medalist in 2014 and has been a regular finalist in all women’s skeet competitions in recent years.  Similarly, Amber English (Colorado Springs, Colorado) was the 2014 National Champion and will have something to say about the results.  Sydney Carson (North Liberty, Indiana) has shown some promise as well, winning a silver medal in the junior event of World Championships.    

“I'm really looking forward to Olympic Trials,” Connor said. “I just got back from a very successful World Championships and I've been training hard ever since I got back. It's going to be a long road ahead to make the Olympic Team but I'm excited to see what the future holds!” 

The competition will feature 10 total rounds (250 targets) over four days and will include two finals after each 125 . 

Men’s Double Trap

With three Olympians and two World Champions, depth aplenty is also a strong theme as we look ahead to Men’s Double Trap competition.  How much has changed in a year?  With athletes like Josh Richmond (Hillsgrove, Pennsylvania) and Jeff Holguin (Yorba Linda, California) dominating the headlines, four-time Olympian Glenn Eller (Houston, Texas) and Derek Haldeman (Sunbury, Ohio) were afterthoughts.  A year later, Eller earned his fifth Olympic Team nomination and Haldeman had it within his sights.  Until 2015, Holguin had been the most consistent competitor among the four, so he’ll be looking to re-establish that in Tucson.  Richmond won a second World Title last year and has shown he likes Tucson having earned two World Cup medals here previously.  Also, aiming to be a part of the mix will be Chris Wilkoski (Centerburg, Ohio) who broke through this tough mix to earn a spot on the World Cup and World Championships team this season. 

Double Trap competition begins Thursday and includes two days of 150 qualification targets with two finals. 


Categories: Press Releases, 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials -- Shotgun