Beard, Norton, English and Thompson Win Golds Plus Three Additional Olympic Quotas for United States to Close Championship of the Americas

GUADALAJARA, Mexico (November 10, 2018)

The final two days for the Championship of the Americas in Guadalajara, Mexico closed on a high note for the USA Shooting Team with an additional four individual gold medals, two individual silver medals and one bronze.

On Friday’s penultimate day of competition, Sarah Beard (Danville, Indiana) won gold in the Women’s Three-Position Rifle event. Beard finished Qualification by setting an Americas record with her world-class qualifying score of 1176. Her teammates MacKensie Martin and Rachel Garner would also qualify for the Final, both with scores of 1163.

Once in the Final, Beard jumped to a sizeable lead after the first kneeling series, going on to win the gold medal by 5.1 points over Dianelys Perez of Cuba. Martin (Murray, Kentucky) was eliminated in fourth place and Garner (Celina, Texas) was eliminated in fifth place. The trio would also earn a team gold medal for their combined score, which also set an Americas record.

For her gold-medal win, Beard also secured an Olympic quota for the United States in Women’s Three-Position Rifle for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. Twelve Olympic quotas were also earned by U.S. athletes in Guadalajara at this match, bringing the U.S. total to 12 thus far. Earning an Olympic quota in competition ensures the country a spot in that particular event, not necessarily the athlete. Athletes will earn Olympic Team slots via a trials system established by USA Shooting.

On the final day of competition Saturday, the winning opened up with George Norton (Salina, Kansas/U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit) taking gold in Men’s Three-Position Rifle, which also meant he earned the United States an Olympic quota in the event. Norton’s AMU teammate Patrick Sunderman (Farmington, Minnesota) won the silver medal and 2016 Olympian Lucas Kozeniesky (Fairfax, Virginia) finished in fourth place, just missing a potential podium sweep in a shootoff with bronze-medal winner Juan Diego Angeloni of Argentina. Norton, Sunderman and Kozeniesky also won a team gold medal for their combined Qualification score of 3470.

In Men’s Rapid Fire Pistol, three-time Olympian Keith Sanderson (Colorado Springs, Colorado) entered the Final with the top Qualification score of 584. Once in the Final, Sanderson was eliminated in the bronze-medal position with a score of 23 hits. Jackson Leverett III (Bainbridge, Georgia) finished in eighth place with a Qualification score of 562, just missing out on a potential Finals berth on X count, or inner tens (a smaller ring within the 10-ring used strictly for tie-breaking purposes). Alex Chichkov (Temple Terrace, Florida) finished in 11th place with a score of 558. The trio also earned a team gold medal for their combined Qualification score.

The Championship of the Americas concluded with the Women’s and Men’s Skeet competition. The U.S. women’s squad was ineligible to win an Olympic quota in this event as the United States earned the maximum number of quotas (two) at the World Championship in September in Changwon, South Korea. Amber English (Colorado Springs, Colorado/USAMU) won gold with 55/60 hits in the Final. Six-time Olympic medalist Kim Rhode (El Monte, California) won silver with 52 hits. Reigning World Champion Caitlin Connor (Winnfield, Louisiana) finished in fourth place.

In Men’s Skeet, two-time Olympian Frank Thompson (Alliance, Nebraska) won gold by not only missing just one target in Qualification for a score of 174/175, but also by equaling the Americas record of 59/60 hits in the Final. With this win, Thompson also earned the U.S. an Olympic quota in Men’s Skeet. Phillip Jungman (Caldwell, Texas/USAMU) finished in fourth place and Dustan Taylor (Staley, North Carolina/USAMU) lost in a shootoff to qualify for the Final to finish in seventh place. The trio also earned a team gold medal for their combined Qualification score.

The United States has now earned the maximum number of quotas possible for the 2020 Olympic Games in Men’s Skeet, Women’s Skeet and Men’s Three-Position Rifle.

Complete results from the Championship of the Americas

The Championship of the Americas was also the only opportunity for athletes to earn quotas for the Pan American Games next summer in Lima, Peru. Two Olympic quotas will be available in each individual event at the Pan American Games and is the last chance for athletes to earn quotas prior to the 2020 Olympic Games. 

Shikar Safari Club International Foundation: USA Shooting received a generous grant of $50,000 to support the Pistol program from the Shikar Safari Club International Foundation.  The grant will be used to prepare our athletes for 2020 Olympics through training camps and domestic/international competitions.  Funds were used for the World Championship in South Korea and will be used for CAT as well. Throughout the years, the Shikar Foundation has been a huge supporter of USA Shooting; providing funds that would build a Trap bunker and Skeet field.  They also financially supported a project for the 25m Rapid Fire and Sport Pistol targets that were converted in 2010 at the Olympic Shooting Center. Learn more here.  


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