Twelve Trap Athletes Earn World Championship Bids to Close Spring Selection Match

TUCSON, Arizona (March 25, 2018)

You might take his event away, but Glenn Eller has the heart of a champion and he’s proving as much after being forced to switch disciplines as an Olympic gold medalist and five-time Olympian.  Eller topped all competitors Sunday for a spot on the 2018 World Championship Team as USA Shooting’s Spring Selection Match for Shotgun concluded from Tucson Trap & Skeet Club with 12 athletes earning a trip to Changwon, South Korea later this summer.

Eller’s rise to the top hasn’t come easy since his event specialty of Double Trap was stripped from the Olympic program after his fifth Olympic appearance in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. But the 36-year-old U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) athlete from Katy, Texas has managed to find success having finished third at the 2017 USA Shooting National Championships and now this.

He showed that grit all the way to the very end Sunday. He was third in selection entering the Final, but hitting 47 targets, including 24-straight, would give him a four-shot advantage by the time the last target was thrown.  He’ll now spend the summer preparing for his 13th World Championship, his first as a trap competitor.

Joining him for his first World Championship will be 16-year-old Grayson Davey (Anchorage, Alaska), the lone junior to make the open team. The current world-record holder Jake Wallace (Castaic, California) was the top qualifier and will compete in his sixth World Championship, including his fifth in a row, after finishing third following the Final.  Despite being the top qualifier at Spring Selection, Derek Haldeman (USAMU/Sunbury, Ohio) finished fourth in World Champs selection, five targets behind Wallace. Haldeman had finished fifth at the 2017 World Championships after switching from Double Trap to Trap following the Olympic program elimination of his specialty. 

In the Junior Men’s ranks, Dale Royer (Jackson, Montana) was the match’s top performer by one point and will compete in his fourth straight World Championship as a junior.  He was the leading qualifier by five targets and would need every one of them after only managing a 39 in the Final compared to Mick Wertz (Muncy, Pennsylvania) who excelled with a 45/50. But it wasn’t enough to overcome the seven-target deficit he had entering the Final.  Third place was reserved for relative bunker trap newcomer Logan Lucas (Pacific, Missouri).

Minus the Olympic accolades yet, Ashley Carroll (Solvang, California) has become the consistent force in shotgun alongside the likes of Kim Rhode and Vincent Hancock. There she was again Sunday finishing on top for this World Championship selection match, even if she wasn’t at her usual best. She was down two to another Golden State competitor Aeriel Skinner (Jackson, California) entering the Final, but a four-point margin over Skinner, 43 to 39, in the Final would secure her the top World Champs qualifying spot by two targets.  Carroll will be competing in her sixth World Championship and looking to better the sixth-place finish she had in Russia last year. 

Skinner ended Carroll’s run of five-straight domestic match victories with her performance that saw her five targets better in qualifying than her next closest competitor, connecting on 224 of 250 targets overall. Kayle Browning-Thomas (Wooster, Arkansas) is headed to her third World Championship after finishing third in selection.  She was able to hold off Julia Stallings (Rossville, Tennessee), who finished just two targets shy in fourth.

Another Volunteer State product Emma Williams (Savannah) was the top junior finisher at Spring Selection and earns her way back to a second consecutive World Championship. Williams was four targets better than Maddy Bernau (Waterford, Wisconsin) and 13-year-old Carey Garrison (Crossville, Tennessee). Garrison becomes the youngest World Championship team member in USA Shooting’s proud history and the reigning Junior National Champion shoots well beyond her years having led all junior competitors in qualifying with 212 targets hit while qualifying for the Final and finishing with the same World Championship selection score (470) as three-time Olympian and two-time Olympic bronze medalist Corey Cogdell-Unrein (Eagle River, Alaska).

World Championship Team selection continues this week as the nation’s top rifle and pistol athletes are descending on the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit in Fort Benning, Georgia for the start of their Spring Selection Match beginning on Wednesday. We’ll have that preview for you Monday afternoon. 


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