Rifle/Pistol Athletes Set for Spring Selection Match

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (March 26, 2015)

These four prominent athletes will have much to say about how the results unfold before the Rifle/Pistol Selection Match concludes next Friday.The nation’s best rifle and pistol competitors are gathering in Ft. Benning, Georgia for the 2015 Spring Smallbore (.22 caliber) Selection Match, March 29-April 3 to determine team members eligible for selection to 2015 World Cup USA and the Munich (Germany) World Cup in May.    

The match, taking place at the home of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU), is the second part of selection that for rifle began in early January and for pistol in late February in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Final selection will require two things:  ranking in the top-three following two additional matches plus finals as well as obtaining the necessary Performance Standard Scores (PSS) necessary for USA Shooting funding. For more info on PSS, click here. 

The selection match to determine Air Pistol and Rifle athletes for these same World Cups takes place April 25-27 at the Civilian Marksmanship Program ranges in Anniston, Alabama.  The first World Cup for Rifle/Pistol begins Friday, April 4 in Changwon, Korea with athletes selected based on performances from the early selection matches. 

Olympians Matt Emmons (Browns Mills, New Jersey)Michael McPhail (USAMU/Darlington, Wisconsin), Amanda Furrer (Spokane, Washington), Keith Sanderson (Colorado Springs, Colorado) and Emil Milev (Temple Terrace, Florida) were among the athletes making the greatest strides toward selection. 

The three-time Olympic medalist Emmons has a 20-point lead after January’s dominating performance in Three-Position Rifle. Trailing him is South Dakota sharpshooter Dempster Christenson (Sioux Falls) followed by George Norton (USAMU/Salina, Kansas), Ryan Anderson (Wasilla, Alaska), Jean-Pierre Lucas (Dunlevy, Pennsylvania) and Daniel Lowe (USAMU/Olympia, Washington). 

Emmons is in a tight race for the top spot in Prone Rifle as well, dueling with his 2012 Olympic teammate McPhail. McPhail has a 6.7 points advantage heading into the match due in part to an earlier performance that saw him eclipse a world-record score in qualifying. The race for that third spot will be intense with as many as 13 athletes within 20 points of one another.  Currently, third place is held by Christenson followed closely by two-time Olympian Eric Uptagrafft (USMAU/Phenix City, Alabama).   

The surprise of the January match was turned in by Texas Christian University junior Hannah Black (Richmond, Virginia) who got hot at the right time to earn top position in Women’s Three-Position.  The 591 she shot on her second day of competition was one off the pace of the world record and 12 points higher than her day one score. The women’s event is easily the most tightly contested of all events heading into this Selection Match. Furrer is third, slightly edging West Virginia University freshman Elizabeth Gratz (Sigel, Illinois) by virtue of 10 more center-10s after the two tied in overall score.  Amy Sowash (Richmond, Kentucky) is second.  Currently, there are seven athletes within 13 points of one another. 

For match standings in rifle following the Winter Selection Match, click here. 

Sanderson and Milev are the clear favorites in Rapid Fire Pistol with the biggest intrigue coming in the battle for that third spot between USAMU’s Brad Balsley (Uniontown, Pennsylvania) and double junior world champion Alex Chichkov (Temple Terrace, Florida). Sanderson served up the biggest highlight of the first pistol selection match when he recorded a 35/40 in the Rapid Fire Pistol final, equaling the world-record finals mark. 

Will Brown (Twin Falls, Idaho) will enter as the Free Pistol leader with a 13-point over Olympian Nick Mowrer (Butte, Montana), aided by his two finals wins and the PSS-qualifying mark of 562 he shot on day two of the February Selection Match. James Henderson (Midland, Georgia) of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) was fourth followed by four-time Olympian and 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Jason Turner (Rochester, New York) in fifth.   

Sandra Uptagrafft (Phenix City, Alabama) used her Olympic experience to open up an 11-point advantage on her sport pistol competitors during the first half of selection, particularly during qualification as her combined score was 16 points better than that of second-place finisher Enkelejda Shehaj (Naples, Florida). Texas A&M pistol shooter Payton Duvall-Freymuller (San Antonio, Texas) proved to be the surprise of the first match, landing in both event finals, to finish third overall. Brenda Silva (Snowflake, Arizona), a 2008 Olympian, was fourth followed by 2014 NRA Intercollegiate Women’s Pistol Champion Alexis Lagan (Salt Lake City, Utah) in fifth.

For Pistol Match Selection results thus far, click here

R/P Spring Selection Match Schedule:

  • Monday, March 30 – Prone & Free Pistol Qualification + Finals
  • Tuesday, March 31 - Prone & Free Pistol Qualification + Finals
  • Wednesday, April 1 – Rapid Fire & Sport Pistol Qualification + Finals
  • Thursday, April 2 – Rapid Fire, Sport Pistol, Men’s/Women’s 3P Qualification + Finals
  • Friday, April 3 – Men’s/Women’s 3P Qualification + Finals
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