Eller, Haldeman & Wilkoski World Championship Bound Following Spring Selection Match

FORT BENNING, Georgia (April 16, 2015)

Derek Haldeman (left) and Glenn Eller were the top two finishers after two tough Selection Matches to determine World Cup Azerbaijan and World Championship team members. Photo courtesy of Sgt. 1st Class Raymond Piper USAMU Public Affairs Competitors at Thursday’s Spring Selection Match in Fort Benning, Georgia, battled rainy conditions as the event reached the penultimate day with the conclusion of Double Trap and three rounds of skeet qualification. Three more athletes secured their World Championships berth following the six trap athletes that did so Sunday.   

The results from this match taking place at the home of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) are being combined with the results from the 2014 Shotgun Fall Selection Match held in Tillar, Arkansas to determine open team selections for World Cup Azerbaijan and the World Championships for Shotgun later this year.  Junior Team selections for World Championships will be based on combined results from this summer’s National Junior Olympic Shooting Championships and National Championships.

The depth of USA Shooting’s Double Trap team is most pronounced when you consider the reigning World Champion and World Cup Finals champion, both Olympians, will have to sit on the sidelines for upcoming World Cup Azerbaijan and the World Championships of Shotgun.  After an exhaustive two-part competition that featured four qualifying and final rounds Glenn Eller (USAMU/Houston, Texas), Derek Haldeman (USAMU/Sunbury, Ohio) and Chris Wilkoski (Centerburg, Ohio) have earned selection to those upcoming 2015 events. Not eligible are two of USA Shooting’s shining stars over the last year including World Champion and 2012 Olympian Josh Richmond (USAMU/Hillsgrove, Pennsylvania) along with World Cup Finals winner and 2008 Olympian Jeff Holguin (USAMU/Yorba Linda, California). 

Having already competed in two World Cups this season, both Eller and Haldeman remain on the World Cup travel team and solidified their World Championship standing. Eller, third coming into the Spring Selection Match, was dominant on his home range to ensure his nomination. Eller outshot his nearest competitor Richmond by 11 targets in qualification and then finished third and first in each of the two finals. Haldeman finished third in Spring Selection to finish second overall. Just a junior at age 20, Wilkoski will get the opportunity to compete in his second World Cup later this summer. He had just the fifth best score during the Spring Selection Match, but was bolstered by his strong shooting during the Fall Selection Match in November to earn his spot. 

Richmond and Holguin both recovered nicely from a disastrous Fall Selection Match. Richmond was 38 targets better in qualification this time around while Holguin was 35.  Despite second and fourth places finishes at this match, it still wasn’t enough to overcome the deficit they faced coming into Spring Selection. The two U.S. Army Marksmanship teammates are responsible for having already secured the two Olympic quotas available in the event.  Richmond by virtue of his 2014 World Championship title, and Holguin following his win at World Cup Acapulco (Mexico) to begin this season. 

A quota spot is essentially the entry ticket necessary for a country to compete in Olympic competition in a particular discipline. USA Shooting athletes winning Olympic quotas will still have to earn the right to compete separately. Athletes competing in World Cup and World Championships have the opportunity to earn points based upon their performance that can earn them automatic Olympic nomination. More information on the Olympic Points System for Shotgun can be found on page 13 of Athlete Selection Procedures for the 2016 Olympic Games.

Spring Selection ends tomorrow with the conclusion of Men’s and Women’s Skeet. Through 200 targets, five-time Olympic medalist Kim Rhode (El Monte, California) has a four-target advantage over Caitlin Connor (Winnfield, Louisiana) followed by Morgan Craft (Muncy Valley, Pennsylvania) in the women’s event.  There’s a three-way tie in qualification among the men including two-time Olympic gold medalist Vincent Hancock (Eatonton, Georgia), Hayden Stewart (Columbia, Tennessee), and Dustin Perry (Lovelady, Texas).

For Spring Selection results, click here. For Full Selection results for World Cup Azerbaijan and the World Championships Open Team including four qualification matches and four finals click here.

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