Countdown to Changwon: USA Shooting World Championship Shotgun Preview

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (August 24, 2018)

The race to snag Olympic quotas officially starts next week at the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Championship August 31 – September 15 in Changwon, South Korea. The USA Shooting Shotgun Team has a good chance of garnering a good number of medals and quotas in its trip east. Of the 17 medals the U.S. won at the 2014 ISSF World Championship, 11 of them came from the Shotgun events. At the 2017 Shotgun World Championship, the U.S. garnered 12 medals to finish second in the medal count and this year’s team looks to build on those numbers in Changwon.

The three women on the Open Skeet team have proven they’re some of the best in the world, with each woman winning at least two World Cup medals this year alone. Six-time Olympic medalist Kim Rhode (El Monte, California, pictured right) has won gold in three of the four World Cups this season alone, but she will be looking for redemption on the World Championship stage after finishing in fourth place at last year’s Shotgun World Championship in Moscow, Russia. Rhode is the top-ranked Women’s Skeet shooter in the world, was 2017’s ISSF Female Shooter of the Year and seems perhaps poised more than ever to bring home her fourth World Championship medal. The last time Rhode won a medal at a World Championship was when she won bronze in 2011.

Joining her will be the world’s third-ranked Women’s Skeet athlete Caitlin Connor (Winnfield, Louisiana, pictured left), who’s won two silver medals during this year’s World Cup season. Connor also won silver in a shootoff against teammate Morgan Craft at the 2015 Shotgun World Championship in Lonato, Italy.

Rounding out the Women’s Skeet team is the fourth-ranked Women’s Skeet athlete in the world, Amber English (Colorado Springs, Colorado/U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit). English won silver at the World Cup in Siggiewi, Malta, bronze at the World Cup in Changwon and just missed out on a Finals appearance at the World Cup in Tucson, Arizona this year. In 2009, English won silver as a Junior at the Shotgun World Championship.

The talent is nearly just as heavy in the Junior Skeet ranks with the Junior medalists from the 2017 Shotgun World Championship team hoping to repeat their success in South Korea: Gold medalist Katie Jacob (Rochester, Michigan), silver medalist Austen Smith (Kellar, Texas) and bronze medalist Sam Simonton (Gainesville, Georgia). The trio also won the team gold medal last year in Russia, in addition to their podium sweep. Look for any of these ladies to challenge the world (and each other) for the top position as Smith picked up victories this year at the Grand Prix in Porpetto, Italy and at the National Junior Olympic Championships (NJOSC), with Simonton finishing in the silver position at each of these matches as well.

The Men’s Skeet side brings its share of heavy hitters too, with two-time Olympic gold medalist Vincent Hancock (Eatonton, Georgia) leading the way. Hancock won gold at all three World Cups in which he competed this year. Hancock has proven he’s among the world’s elite, amassing three World Championship gold medals and one World Championship bronze throughout his career. His last medal was gold at the 2015 Shotgun World Championship. Rounding out the Men’s Skeet team will be Phillip Jungman (Caldwell, Texas/USAMU), who’s recently made the jump to the Open ranks. At the 2014 World Championship, Jungman won bronze in Junior Men’s Skeet.

Hancock’s two-time Olympic teammate Frank Thompson (Alliance, Nebraska) has been knocking on the door of the medal podium internationally in 2018. Thompson has made two Finals appearances this year in World Cups, finishing in fifth place overall in Guadalajara, Mexico and Tucson.

Ashley Carroll (Solvang, California) just missed out on the Women’s Trap Final at the 2014 World Championship, but she finished in sixth place at last year’s Shotgun World Championship and won gold this year at the World Cup in Guadalajara. Carroll’s teammate who shared the podium with her in Guadalajara with a bronze medal – Aeriel Skinner (Jackson, California) – will make her World Championship debut in Changwon. Skinner set a Qualification World Record of 119/125 targets in Guadalajara and finished just outside of Finals at the most recent World Cup in Tucson.

Former Double Trap specialist Glenn Eller (Katy, Texas/USAMU) will hope his World Championship winning ways carry over to his new event of Men’s Trap as he makes his World Champs debut in his new event after being the top finisher in the selection process to go to Changwon. Eller has four World Championship medals on his resume, as well as a Team Double Trap silver medal at the 2014 World Championship. Changwon will mark Eller’s 13th World Cup appearance.

Another former Double Trap specialist in Dale Royer (Jackson, Montana) leads the way for the Junior Men’s Trap team. At the 2014 World Championship, Royer finished in 10th place, and in his new event, seventh at the Shotgun World Championship in Moscow. Royer also recently repeated as Men’s Trap champ at the NJOSC.

Perhaps the most intriguing competition in the Shotgun realm will be when the Trap Mixed Teams compete. The U.S. teams of Corey Cogdell-Unrein (Eagle River, Alaska)/Jake Wallace (Castaic, California) and Kayle Browning (Wooster, Arkansas)/Will Hinton (Dacula, Georgia/USAMU) each just won gold and bronze respectively at the World Cup in Tucson. The World Championship is the only competition in this Olympic cycle in which Olympic quotas will be awarded in the Mixed Team events and both teams look to have a strong shot at them.

Check out the complete World Champs U.S. Team preview in the latest edition of USA Shooting News:

A complete schedule of events at the ISSF World Championship - Events are listed in local time. Changwon is 13 hours ahead of the U.S. Eastern Time Zone:

Finals will be broadcast live via the ISSF Livestream channel:

Be sure to follow the team online throughout the World Championship: 

Categories: Press Releases, 2018 World Championship