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Moschetti & Smith Yield First Skeet National Titles

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (March 17, 2019)

Both Nic Moschetti and Austen Smith scaled the National Championship mountain Wednesday in Skeet Action.On a postcard-picture perfect Colorado day, skeet sensations Nic Moschetti and Austen Smith captured their podium moment en route to their first national title to conclude USA Shooting’s National Championships in Shotgun on Wednesday.

Move on from the junior ranks and beat two-time Olympian and four-time World Champion Vincent Hancock to win your first national title. Seems an unrealistic goal, but that’s exactly what happened for Nic Moschetti (Broomfield, Colorado) today at International Shooting Park just outside Colorado Springs. When it mattered most, Moschetti was at his best, hitting the final 50 targets to qualify second.  Then being unflappable at the end of the Final against the world’s best skeet shooter to unseat the pre-event favorite by two, 56-54. Moschetti was the Junior Nationals and Junior World Championship runner-up in 2018.

“Winning Nationals has been something that I have dreamt of ever since I began competing in international skeet many years ago,” Moschetti said. “I was so fortunate to compete against many of my good friends this week, making this victory even more special to me. I would like to congratulate all the other medalists on their excellent shooting. I look forward to carrying this momentum into the first part of Olympic Team Trials later this year.”

Hancock was first in Qualification with 246/250. Also competing in his first Nationals as an open competitor, last year’s Junior National Champion Eli Christman (Hixson, Tennessee) finished third after shooting a 239 in qualifying.  Kyle Johnson (Phoenix, Arizona) was fourth followed by Zach McBee (College Station, Texas) and Joseph Witty (Dewey, Arizona).

Men’s Junior National Champion is another Colorado native in Anthony Nomina (Berthoud, Colorado), who tied for second in Qualification with 235 targets, but would go on to win the Final by four over David Garza (Benavides, Texas). Garza was the last qualifier with 229 but came on strong in the Final. Lazaro Puertas (Hialeah, Florida) was third followed by top Qualifier Alexander Ahlin (Bamberg, South Carolina), Connor Prince (Burleson, Texas) in fifth and Benjamin Keller (Johnstown, Colorado) in sixth.

Seventeen-year-old junior competitor Austen Smith (Keller, Texas) is your Women’s Skeet National Champion for the first time.  Given her current success in the loaded field of top U.S. skeet talent, don’t expect it to be her last. She cashed in the bronze she earned in 2018 for gold this time around. She was also the bronze medalist at the 2018 Junior World Championships.

Climbing to the top of the medal stand didn’t come easy, however.  She finished fourth in Qualification with 235 targets, and then would have to hold off the surge of the savvy skeet veteran Haley Dunn (Eddyville, Iowa). Smith would prevail by one over the 34-year-old Dunn, a seven-time World Cup medalist who earned back her National Team status.

“It's an honor to be the national champion and to be able to shoot with the amazing competitors on our team,” Smith stated. “I consider our women's skeet group to be the best in the world and to be named alongside previous champions like them is a dream come true.” 

Despite being the last-place Qualifier among the Finalist, fellow junior competitor Katie Jacob (Rochester, Michigan) fought her way to third in the Final ahead of her sister, 17-year-old Jacenta.  World Championships bronze medalist Amber English (U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit/Colorado Springs, Colorado) was fifth followed by top Qualifier and another junior competitor Sam Simonton (Gainesville, Georgia) in sixth. Defending two-time National Champion Dania Vizzi (Odessa, Florida) finished seventh with a 225, three targets out from a Finals spot.

Simonton shook off the complete disgust she was feeling after her early departure from the Open Skeet Final and rebounded to capture the Junior National Championship by five over Jacenta Jacob (Rochester, Michigan).  Jasmine Otis (Wasilla, Alaska) earned the other spot on the junior podium.  Emma Van Donselaar (Oskaloosa, Iowa) was fourth followed by Jessi Griffin (Jasper, Georgia) and Molly DiMaggio (Roseville, California).

International Shooting Park and skeet competition continues Saturday with the start of the National Junior Olympic Shooting Championships (NJOSC)) that will last two days.

SKEET Photo Album:  https://flic.kr/s/aHsmEoDuxQ

USA Shooting National Championships for SHOTGUN RESULTS:  http://bit.ly/2WTRhkq

Categories: Press Releases