USA Shooting National Championships for Rifle and Pistol Returns to Fort Benning

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (June 7, 2018)

More than 200 Rifle and Pistol athletes from around the country will make their annual pilgrimage to the home of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit this weekend as the week-long USA Shooting National Championships for Rifle and Pistol kick off Sunday in Fort Benning, Georgia.

National titles and potential slots on the National/National Junior/National Paralympic Teams will be up for grabs as athletes compete across the individual Olympic and Paralympic events in Rifle and Pistol disciplines, as well as Men’s and Women’s 50m Prone Rifle, Men’s 25m Center Fire and Standard Pistol and Men’s 50m Free Pistol. This match will also serve as the selection match for the athletes who will compete in the 2018 International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Championship this summer in these non-Olympic events. World Championship team athletes in the 300m Rifle events were selected during the Fall Selection Match last year.

Most of the athletes who’ve already earned slots on the World Championship Team will be looking to Nationals as a tune-up prior to the World Championships August 31 – September 15 in Changwon, South Korea. Learn more about the athletes who qualified for the team in Smallbore and Airgun.

Among the notable Rifle athletes who will be competing in Fort Benning are three-time Olympic medalist Matt Emmons (Browns Mills, New Jersey), 2016 Olympic gold medalist Ginny Thrasher and (Springfield, Virginia) two-time Olympian Michael McPhail (U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit/Darlington, Wisconsin).

Emmons and Thrasher posted the top finishes for American Rifle athletes this year on the ISSF circuit. Emmons, who just missed the podium in fourth place in Men’s Three-Position Rifle at the World Cup in Changwon, posted an impressive Qualification score of 1177. Thrasher finished fifth in Women’s Air Rifle at the World Cup in Fort Benning just three weeks ago. There she posted a world-class score of 627.4 in Qualification.

McPhail, a former Prone Rifle specialist, has been steadily inching up the rankings in ISSF competition since devoting himself full-time to Three-Position Rifle, finishing just outside of the Finals at the World Cup on his home range in Fort Benning just a few weeks ago.

On the Pistol side, look for strong performances from Air Pistol Mixed teammates Alexis Lagan (Boulder City, Nevada) and 2012 Olympian Nick Mowrer (Butte, Montana), as well as past Olympic teammates Keith Sanderson (Colorado Springs, Colorado) and Emil Milev (Temple Terrace, Florida) on the Rapid Fire Pistol side.

Lagan, the 2017 Women’s Sport Pistol National Champion, just posted a 584 in Sport Pistol at the World Cup in Fort Benning, which would have put her in the Finals if she wasn’t shooting in a Minimum Qualifying Score (MQS) position. She also just missed a potential Finals berth by two points at the World Cup Munich, Germany in Women’s Air Pistol. Mowrer posted a world-class score 392 (of 400) in the Air Pistol Mixed Team event at the World Cup in Fort Benning.

Sanderson, who’s finished just outside of the Finals in all the World Cups this season, will once again compete against his 2012 and 2016 Olympic teammate Milev in Rapid Fire Pistol. The pair have traded off National Champion status in this event for years, with Milev winning last year’s title in a shootoff. Milev has recently retired from international competition to coach the NRA Intercollegiate Pistol National Champion Ohio State Buckeyes.

In addition to the National Championships, this event is also a World Shooting Para Sport-sanctioned (WSPS, formerly IPC) match so Paralympic athletes from the U.S., Ireland, Canada, Ukraine and Columbia will also compete in this match across the Paralympic Rifle and Pistol events.

This year’s National Championship will also be the first Nationals where the new ISSF shooting format will be in place, with men and women shoot the same number of record shots in competition.

The National Championships start Sunday and run through June 16. This event is free and open to the public, please stop by the Fort Benning Visitor Center for a pass prior to coming to the range. View the complete schedule of events:


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