McPhail Wins Men’s 50m Three-Position Rifle Bronze at ISSF World Championship

CHANGWON, South Korea (September 7, 2018)

Michael McPhail won the bronze medal in Men’s 50m Three-Position Rifle today at the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Championship at the Changwon International Shooting Range.

The medal is the first Men’s 50m Three-Position World Championship medal for the United States since Tom Tamas won silver in the event back in 1994.  Along with his bronze-medal win, McPhail (Darlington, Wisconsin/U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit) also earned the United States’ first Olympic quota in Shooting for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. A quota spot is essentially a country’s ticket to compete in Olympic competition in a particular event. USA Shooting athletes winning Olympic quotas will still have to earn the right to compete in the Olympic Games separately. 

“That feeling in the Final is something I haven’t felt in a long time,” said McPhail, beaming. He took a break from international competition following the 2016 ISSF World Cup Final where he won gold in Men’s Prone Rifle. The last international event where he shot Men’s Three-Position Rifle was the 2014 ISSF World Championship. “Being in that Final was kind of nice. It was nice to hear your name, your legs shaking, heart beating – it’s really one of the things that makes this sport fun. If you get into a Final and that’s not happening, it’s not a whole lot of fun anymore. For the first time in a long time, I got that feeling back.”

McPhail, 36, finished Qualification in the eighth and last position with his score of 1177 – a best for him in international competition. He was tied with Hungarian Istvan Peni in integer score as time ran out, so the tie for the last Finals position was broken on X count, or “inner tens” – shots inside a smaller circle within the 10-ring; strictly used for tie-breaking purposes. McPhail won on X count, 67-62.

“Kneeling was fine – would have liked to get three more points out of it – but I walked back off the line and I said to whomever was sitting behind me, ‘We’re down six, but the leader is going to be six down after Prone!’ so I got back down there.  I was kind of a little pressed for time, so I hurried up and shot a quick 400 [in Prone], which was kind of fortunate,” said the two-time Olympian and former Prone Rifle specialist. “I got up, took a little more time – been doing that lately, just getting everything to calm down – and [my Standing stage] was good. My score didn’t reflect how I shot. The shots were just out [of where I thought they should go] and I just squeaked into that Final!”

Once in the Final, McPhail jumped to second place early in the Kneeling stage, even moving between first and second throughout the next series in Prone.

“The plan in the Final was to get everything set and get off to a quick start,” McPhail said. “Just make the match shorter. If we can get through slings – I would say I’m a pretty decent sling shooter – and get out slings with some kind of lead, then fight the rest of those guys off for the next 15 shots! Prone and Kneeling are fine, but when I get to Standing, my old body doesn’t move the way I have it pictured in my mind. It just doesn’t get there!”

Once in the Standing series in the Final, McPhail held on until his 43rd and 44th shot –an 8.9 and 9.4 – that would eliminate him in the bronze-medal position.

“I do a pretty good job of shooting the bullet in the chamber – not the one waiting or the one that’s already gone.  Just shoot one shot, and that’s the only one that matters, and I shot today. I was aggressive when I needed to be. I just shot a good match.”

The gold medal went to Tomasz Bartnik of Poland and the silver medal went to Peter Gorsa of Croatia.

Also competing in Men’s Three-Position Rifle was three-time Olympic medalist Matt Emmons (Browns Mills, New Jersey) who finished in 13th place with a score of 1175. 2016 Olympian Lucas Kozeniesky (Fairfax, Virginia) finished in 27th place with a score of 1173.

Junior Air Rifle athletes got their turn on the line today as well. The top finish for the Junior U.S. men came from Will Shaner (Colorado Springs, Colorado), who just missed a potential Finals berth by 1.1 points with a score of 625.0 to finish in 10th place. Logan Ogden (Galway, New York) finished in 45th place with a score of 616.3 and Matt Sanchez (Tampa, Florida) finished in 58th place with a score of 613.4.

On the Women’s side, Emily Stith (Jacksonville, Florida/U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit) was the top finisher in 23rd with a score of 622.7. Elizabeth Marsh (Searcy, Arkansas) finished in 30th place with a score of 621.5 and Sarah Osborn (Hampton, Virginia) finished in 37th place with a score of 620.1.

In the Trap Mixed Team event, the team of Kayle Browning (Wooster, Arkansas) and Will Hinton (Dacula, Georgia/USAMU) finished in 11th place with a combined score of 140/150 targets. The team of two-time Olympic bronze medalist Corey Cogdell-Unrein (Eagle River, Alaska) and Jake Wallace (Castaic, California) finished in 47th place with a combined score of 123.

The Women and Junior Women in Sport Pistol shot their Precision stages today. In the Women’s (Open) category, 2012 Olympian Sandra Uptagrafft (Phenix City, Alabama) enters tomorrow’s Rapid Fire stage with a score of 288, 2008 Olympian Brenda Silva (Snowflake, Arizona) has a score of 284 and Alexis Lagan (Boulder City, Nevada) has a score of 285. On the Junior side, Sarah Choe (Los Angeles, California) has a score of 290. Katelyn Abeln (Douglasville, Georgia) has a score of 284 and Abbie Leverett (Bainbridge, Georgia) has a score of 268.

Complete results and start lists from the World Championship:

Competition continues tomorrow at the ISSF World Championship with Qualification and medals in the Women’s 50 Three-Position Rifle, Junior Trap Mixed Team and the conclusion of the Women’s and Junior Women’s Sport Pistol events.

The 52nd ISSF World Championship runs through September 15 at the Changwon International Shooting Range. More than 1,800 athletes from 91 countries have gathered in Changwon to compete in the 15 Olympic Shooting events, as well as 51 non-Olympic events across five disciplines.

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

Complete schedule of the ISSF World Championship (Changwon is 13 hours ahead of the Eastern Time Zone):

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


Categories: Press Releases, 2018 World Championship