U.S. Team Nabs Four Medals, Two Quotas on Final Day of Shooting at Pan American Games

TORONTO (July 19, 2015)

Four medals and two quotas in one day – can’t wrap up a Pan American Games much better than that.

The U.S. Pan American Shooting Team took up all but two of the podiums positions today and a quota each in Men’s Three-Position Rifle and Skeet on this final day of shooting competition.

The final event for shooting – Men’s Skeet – saw an All-U.S. team gold-medal match as Texas A&M college buddies T.J. Bayer (College Station, Texas, pictured) and Dustin Perry (Lovelady, Texas) faced off for the gold and silver medals.

Earlier in the day, Bayer finished Qualification in third place with 120/125 targets to advance to the Semifinal. Perry was in a four-way tie for the last two positions in the Final with his score of 119. He and eventual bronze medalist Juan Rodriguez of Cuba advanced to the Semifinal when they won their slots in a shootoff, 2-1.

In the Semifinal, Bayer and Perry would tie for the top position with a score of 15/16 targets to move on. In the gold-medal match, Bayer would shoot a perfect 16 targets to win the gold and the Olympic quota in this event. Perry took silver with his score of 14 targets.

"I think we [Perry and I] both had a lot of fun with this and we have trained really hard for months on end, preparing for this match alone,” Bayer said. “We came in together - roommates this whole time - and we went out together. I think it's pretty awesome that we've done that."

“We've been travelling together pretty much the whole way through, since 2007,” said Perry. “It's awesome to be able to train together; especially supporting the same school - Texas A&M - and supporting each other everywhere we go."

Earlier in the day, the Men’s Three-Position Rifle competition kicked off and Team USA  was looking to nab its first Olympic quota in the event. More information on selection procedures and quotas for the 2016 Olympic Games can be found here.

Both U.S. men qualified for the Final – Ryan Anderson (Wasilla, Alaska) in second place with a score of 1167, and George Norton (Salina, Kansas / U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit) in fifth with a score of 1154, which included a lost final shot and two-point penalty for a crossfire.

Once in the Final, Norton hovered between fourth and sixth place throughout the Kneeling and Prone stages. It wasn’t until later in the individual shots in Standing that Norton would begin to gain points on eventual gold medalist Reynier Estopinan of Cuba. Norton, however, didn’t start the individual shots off as strong as he would have liked, shooting a 7.9.

"I knew it was going to come down to Standing,” Norton said. “I pride myself on being a great Standing shooter. I think I moved from sixth place up to second but it was going to take work and I was not going to give it to him...Then the 7.9. I saw that on the screen and I thought there’s no way I would have ever shot that.  Of course the rifle and everything pointed it there, but I know that in my mind, I wasn’t going to allow myself think I was capable of shooting a low shot because I knew I was going to have to run tens the rest of the way and that’s exactly what I did. At that point you just kind of get to the point that I knew if I took good shots - the whole way - the leaders, they’re going to have to take good shots too. I haven’t trained this long to mess up with three shots to go.”

In the second-to-last shot of the Final, Anderson actually held a .2 advantage on Norton in second, however, was eliminated when Norton shot a 10.3 and he shot a 9.5 to take the bronze medal. Though Norton shot a 10.0 to Estopinan’s 9.1 on the last shot, Norton couldn’t catch him and would win the silver medal.

“Experience is one of the best ways to learn,” Anderson said. “Being in these big competitions like the Pan Am Games, it's hard to simulate the same kind of atmosphere in practice and the same kind of pressure you might be under during a training session. Coming to these competitions and participating is great. Every time you come it builds your confidence just a little more, especially when you do well."

Estopinan has won an Olympic quota in Men’s Prone Rifle at the Championship of the Americas late last year and thus was ineligible to win the quota available today, which went to the U.S. because of George Norton’s silver-medal finish.

Earlier this week, the U.S. Pan American shooting team picked up nine medals (three gold, four silver and two bronze) in Men’s Air Rifle (gold, bronze), Women’s Trap (silver, bronze), Men’s Rapid Fire Pistol (gold), Women’s Sport Pistol (silver) Men’s Prone Rifle (silver), Women’s Skeet (gold) and Men’s Air Pistol (silver). Today’s medal wins bring the U.S. Pan American Shooting Team total to 13 medals. Gold medalists Connor Davis (Shelbyville, Kentucky) and Brad Balsley (Uniontown, Pennsylvania/USAMU) also won Olympic quotas for the U.S. in Men’s Air Rifle and Rapid Fire Pistol, along with silver medalist Sandra Uptagrafft (Phenix City, Alabama) winning a quota in Women’s Sport Pistol.

View and download photos from the Pan American Games here:  View complete results on the Toronto 2015 website.

Categories: Press Releases, Pan American Games 2015