Mother and Son Earn National Team Berths at USA Shooting National Championships

FORT BENNING, Georgia (June 29, 2017)

2016 Olympian Will Brown’s bronze-medal win in Men’s Air Pistol today at the 2017 USA Shooting National Championships for Rifle/Pistol may be more memorable than any of the national titles or World Cup medals he’s won throughout his career. Not because of the color or even the scores he shot – but just over an hour after he won his medal, Brown cheered his mother on to a medal of her own as she won bronze in Women’s Air Pistol. Will and his mother, Susan, just became the first mother and son to become teammates on the USA Shooting National Team.

“I knew it was close, but I didn’t want to get my hopes up!” Susan said excitedly. “It’s been a goal to get on a Team with the boys. It would have been great if Wyatt (Will’s brother and former National Junior Team member) could have been here too but he had to work.”

It’s not the first time USA Shooting has had a parent and child on the National Team together. In the early 1980s, shooting legend Lones Wigger and his daughter, Deena, competed together on a National Team, as well as being teammates at the 1983 Pan American Games, in Caracas, Venezuela.

Though the Brown brothers had been shooting since they were kids in Twin Falls, Idaho, Susan and her husband, Dan, just started shooting right before the 2012 Olympics.

“The boys were going and we got into handguns too and just loved it,” Susan, 55, said. “We started shooting bullseye and some other stuff at our range. Will and I have shot together before, but there’s no chance of me beating him. The only thing that kind of stinks is we have to miss the Finals since it always seems like they’re during the women’s matches. I used to get upset that they wouldn’t be at my match to help me when I was struggling!”

Susan and Will competed together as at the CAT Games in Guadalajara, Mexico in 2014 where Will won gold in Men’s Air Pistol. Susan, who was competing at the event to earn a Minimum Qualifying Score (MQS) required for Olympic competition, said she was just happy to be there for her son’s win.

“I don’t even talk to him at matches unless I really, really need his help. But, still, he does enjoy hanging out with his mom during matches. He’s given me great advice too: To trust my hold. He tells me how good my hold is and that I should trust it and have confidence in myself. He’s very good at that. I know he’s not lying to me. He wouldn’t say something that’s not true. Plus, I’m good at making sandwiches and making his lunch,” she laughed.

James Hall (Anniston, Alabama) won the Men’s Air Pistol gold medal and Will’s Olympic teammate, Jay Shi (Phoenix, Arizona), won the silver.

On the women’s side, 2012 Olympian Sandra Uptagrafft (Phenix City, Alabama) had already won the gold medal before the Final even started with a 10-point lead following the two days of Qualification. 2015 National Champion Alexis Lagan (Las Vegas, Nevada) won silver.

In other competition at the National Championships for Rifle/Pistol, the Men’s Prone Rifle podium was swept by the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit. Two-time Olympian Michael McPhail (Darlington, Wisconsin) had won the National Championship even before the Final had begun, building a dominating nine-point lead over two days of Qualification and winning the day’s Final. Patrick Sunderman (Farmington, Minnesota) edged out two-time Olympian Eric Uptagrafft (Spokane, Washington) for silver by finishing one place higher in the Final.

University of Kentucky Wildcat Hanna Carr (Versailles, Kentucky) won the Junior and Overall Women’s Prone titles. TCU shooter Barrett Ray (Albert, New Mexico) won the overall silver and Ole Miss’ Randi Loudin (Post Falls, Idaho) won overall bronze.

The United States claimed its first gold medal in the World Shooting Para Sport- (WSPS, formerly IPC Shooting) sanctioned match held in conjunction with this National Championship. Kevin Nguyen (Columbus, Georgia) won gold in the R6 (Mixed 50m Rifle Prone SH1) event by edging out Andrii Doroshenko of Ukraine by just .2 points at the end of the Final. Iryna Shchetnik, also of Ukraine, won bronze. Nguyen also won silver Tuesday in R3 (Mixed 10m Air Rifle Prone SH1), along with an appointment to the National Paralympic Team.

“It was a tough matchup, but it was also a great experience” Nguyen said. “I had a lot of adrenaline racing, and I was trying to keep that heartbeat down and stay focused on taking good shots. The roar of the crowd after every good shot was a rush, but it also felt good that my friends and teammates were cheering me on. I know what I need to train for when we head to the Bangkok World Cup.”

Also winning medals today for the United States were Aarwin Causey (Birmingham, Alabama) who won silver in P1 (Men’s 10m Air Pistol SH1), as well as Hope Lewellen (Palos Park, Illinois) and Tricia Downing (Denver, Colorado) who won silver and bronze respectively in P2 (Women’s 10m Air Pistol SH1).

Competition in the USA Shooting National Championships for Rifle/Pistol and WSPS-sanctioned match continues through Sunday. More than 350 athletes from across the country have descended on Fort Benning to compete for National Championship titles and appointments to the National, National Junior and National Paralympic Teams. More than 30 athletes from nine countries have come to Fort Benning to compete in the WSPS-sanctioned match.

A complete schedule for this match can be found here:

Complete results from the USA Shooting National Championships for Rifle/Pistol and WSPS-sanctioned match thus far can be found here:

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