Olympic Hopefuls Rise Up on Olympic Day at Rifle/Pistol National Championships & Shotgun Junior Olympics

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (June 24, 2019)

On a day to celebrate the Olympics, several Olympic hopefuls rose to the occasion on Sunday with action spread across all disciplines from Junior Olympic Shotgun in Colorado Springs to the Rifle/Pistol National Championships in Fort Benning, Georgia.

Ali Weisz, Tim Sherry, Sam Simonton and Alexander Ahlin all earned big victories as summer heated up for USA Shooting Team athletes. 

Leave it to a Rebel to mess up the Horned Frog challenge match that was going on in the Women’s Air Rifle Final. The former Ole Miss Rebel Weisz (Belgrade, Montana), who finished second in 2019, fought off the purple attack that included five current or former Texas Christian University Horned Frogs including Angeline Henry (Fort Worth, Texas) that challenged Weisz to the very end, before falling by .9 points overall when Weisz won the Final to go along with her match-high score of 627.2 on day two. Mary Tucker (Sarasota, Florida), who is set to enter the University of Kentucky later this summer, placed third. 

Other Horned Frogs in the Finals included reigning NCAA Air Rifle National Champion Kristen Hemphill (Lohn, Texas), alums Mindy Miles (Weatherford, Texas) and Sarah Beard (Danville, Indiana) as well as current NCAA Smallbore National Champion Elizabeth Marsh (Searcy, Arkansas) as they finished fourth through seventh. Junior Macey Way (Colorado Springs, Colorado), bound for Nebraska, finished eighth.

Henry would come back in the Junior match to earn the top podium position by winning the Final and recording the top Qualification match score on day one of 626.2. It’s her second straight Junior national title. Her Horned Frog teammate Hemphill would finish second with Tucker coming through with another bronze-medal performance in the junior ranks as well after shooting a match-high 627.0 on day two.

It was an U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) sweep in Men’s Three Position Rifle as the soldier athletes took advantage of their home range conditions. Paced by his match-high 1176 on day one, Tim Sherry (Highlands Ranch, Colorado) earned himself a national title by two points over two-time Olympian Michael McPhail (Darlington, Wisconsin). Patrick Sunderman (Farmington, Minnesota) finished third, four points back of Sherry.  Army World Class Athlete Program (WCAP) athlete Nick Mowrer (Butte, Montana) continues to dazzle in two disciplines. Sunday it was in Rifle with him winning the Final with a world-class 457.0 that helped move him into fourth overall. 

Jared Eddy (Midland, Georgia) is the Men’s Three-Position Rifle Junior National Champion after finishing fifth in the Open Final. Eddy finished with a two-point advantage on Kellen McAferty (Littlerock, Washington), who finished two points behind Eddy and in sixth position in the Open Final as well. McAferty had the high Qualification score over the two days with a 1168. Earning the bronze medal was Antonio Gross (Ontario, New York), climbing into that position with a win in the Final.

Others picking up some hardware Sunday included: bronze medals for Mike Tagliatpietra (Fond du lac, Wisconsin) in the Paralympic Sport Pistol event (P3 SH1) and McKenna Dahl (Arlington, Washington) in Paralympic Mixed Air Rifle (SH2); Paul Kang (Los Angeles, California) picked up a Junior National Title in Junior Sport Pistol; Gerry Sverdin scored a national title in Center Fire Pistol and Ryan Yi (Diamond Bar, California) earned top honors in Standard Pistol.

Next up at the 2019 USA Shooting National Championships is Air Pistol, Women’s Three-Position Rifle, and Men’s Air Rifle with those podium awards being decided Wednesday, June 26.



Sam Simonton (Gainesville, Georgia) put the finishing touches on a great week of Skeet by winning the National Junior Olympic Shooting Championship (NJOSC) title to go along with her National Junior title and sixth-place finish in the Open category.  Simonton left little doubt with a Qualification score of 121/125, three better than any other competitor, and then shooting a dominant Final, connecting on 57 of the 60 targets to easily outpace Katie Jacob (Rochester, Michigan). Jacob was third in the Open Final at Nationals that took place Wednesday.  The other Jacob sibling, Jacenta, earned a second consecutive third-place showing at NJOSC after finishing second to Simon during Nationals.

Earning a J2 (15-17 years of age) gold medal was Jessi Griffin (Jasper, Georgia) with Molli DiMaggio (Roseville, California) earning silver and Eden Samson (Wasilla, Alaska) taking the bronze.

It would take a shoot-off in the Final to decide the Men’s Junior Olympic title with Alexander Ahlin (Bamberg, South Carolina) and Eli Ellis (College Station, Texas) squaring off after tying with 53 targets apiece in an extremely tight Final. Ahlin would win the shoot-off, 4-3. Connor Prince (Burleson, Texas) would earn the bronze.  None of the junior medalists would make the podium at NJOSC, but Junior Champion Anthony Nomina (Berthoud, Colorado) made the Final but would be the first eliminated in sixth. Second-place finisher from Nationals, David Garza (Benavides, Texas), would finish seventh after falling in a shoot-off to make the Final with Nomina and eventual fourth-place finisher Christopher Freeman (Rockford, Michigan).

Lazaro Puertas (Hialeah, Florida), the junior bronze medalist from Nationals, would have to settle for being the top finisher in the J2 category this time out.  Blake Sanford (Cicero, Indiana) earned the silver medal while Joshua Corbin (Reedsburg, Wisconsin) took the bronze.  In the J3 category (14 years and younger), Benjamin Keller (Johnstown, Colorado) would earn the top spot on the podium after finishing fifth overall. John Cantu (Victoria, Texas) would grab the silver medal while Aidin Burns (Kerrville, Texas) earned the bronze.

NJOSC wraps up 19 consecutive days of shotgun competition at International Shooting Park with USA Shooting’s National Championships and the National Junior Olympic Shooting Championships.


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