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Lagan, Thrasher & McPhail Close Out Nationals with Top Performances

FORT BENNING, Georgia (June 29, 2019)

USA Shooting’s Rifle/Pistol Championships came to close Saturday from Fort Benning, Georgia, but not before Alexis Lagan and Ginny Thrasher could add to an already impressive week and Michael McPhail could show off his skills as this nation’s top prone shooter.

Lagan (Boulder City, Nevada) was the only open competitor to earn two national titles in the Olympic disciplines, taking top honors in Air Pistol Wednesday and then following with a Sport Pistol win Saturday. She got there by virtue of a huge score of 584 in Day 2 Qualification, nine points better than Friday’s score, that had her holding a four-point advantage heading into Finals.  Her rebound Saturday helped overcome what she described as "sabotaging herself with a costly mistake" after she loaded too many rounds during the Qualification match on Friday, earning her a two-point deduction. She would tie eventual second-place finisher Sandra Uptagrafft (Phenix City, Alabama) in the Final, forcing a shoot-off that Lagan would eventually win, 4-3. Sarah Choe (Bridge Jr./Los Angeles, California) finished third. It was the exact same podium line-up and order in Air Pistol as well. 

Choe would also go on to earn a second Junior title on the week after doing so in Air as well. She held a five-point advantage after Qualification on runner-up Katelyn Abelyn (Douglasville, Georgia) and would win the Final to finish ahead her friend by six points. Abbie Leverett (Bainbridge, Georgia) would finish third while Ada Korkhin (Brookline, Massachusetts) was the high J2 (15-17 years old) and Annabell Yi (Diamond Bar, California) was the high J3 (14 years and younger).

At the conclusion of Nationals, the Para Pan American Games Team was identified pending U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) approval. A full roster announcement will be made following USOPC approval.  Athletes identified include:

Rifle: McKenna Dahl; Taylor Farmer; Tammy Delano; Jazmin Almlie-Ryan; Stetson Bardfield; David Cromwell John Joss; Kevin Nguyen; Nick Beach. 

Pistol: Aaron Causey; Josue Lopez; Tricia Downing; Mike Tagliapietra; Marco De La Rosa. 

With international competitors taking part in USA Shooting Nationals, USAMU soldier-athlete Kevin Nguyen (Westminster, California) finished second in the 50m Prone Rifle event (SH1 R6) Saturday after finishing third in Prone Air Rifle (SH1 R3) earlier in the week. McKenna Dahl (Arlington, Washington) also earned a silver medal Saturday and got to share the podium with her rifle counterpart Stetson Bardfield (Colorado Springs, Colorado) in the 50m Prone Rifle events (SH2 R9). Earlier in the week, Dahl also got a bronze medal in Standing Air Rifle (SH2 R4).

In Saturday’s Paralympic pistol action, newcomer Yan Xiao Gong (South Pasadena, California) picked up a second silver medal, this time in the Free Pistol event, after claiming another podium prize earlier in the week in Air Pistol.  Mike Tagliapietra (Fond du Lac, Wisconsin) earned his second bronze medal on the week, after also doing so in Sport Pistol earlier.

Other highlights on the week, includes a silver medal by Jazmine Almlie-Ryan (Houston, Texas) in the Mixed Prone Rifle event (SH2 R5).

Non-Olympic events contested at Nationals don’t include a Final so it was two Qualification matches to decide national titles in Prone Rifle. Former West Virginia Mountaineer Virginia Thrasher (Springfield, Virginia) earned some additional hardware to go along with her win in Three-Position Rifle.  Separating Thrasher from second-place finisher Sarah Beard (U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit/Danville, Indiana) was 1.9 points, despite Beard’s high match score of 625.0. Texas Christian University assistant coach Hannah Black (Richmond, Virginia) was third. 

Current Mountaineer Sarah Osborne (Hampton, Virginia) earned the Junior National title in Women’s Prone Rifle. The only junior competitor to shoot in the 620s with a 620.6 helped give a 9.5 point win over Mogran Kreb (Colorado Springs, Colorado).  Elena Flake (Fountain, Colorado) was third while Mikole Hogan (Montgomery, Texas) earned high J2 honors with Elizabeth Probst (Brady, Texas) doing the same in the J3 classification.

On the men’s side, it was Prone stalwart Michael McPhail (USAMU/Darlington, Wisconsin) coming through with another national title in what has been his signature event before the removal of the discipline from the Olympic program after the 2016 Olympic Games.  He took the 6.7 point win over Dempster Christenson (Sioux Falls, South Dakota) after a strong 630.0 score Saturday, a score 8.1 points higher than his Friday result and 5.2 points higher than anyone else in the field. Meanwhile, McPhail’s USAMU teammate Patrick Sunderman (Farmington, Minnesota) was third, but by just 1/10th of a point over another USAMU soldier-athlete Tim Sherry (Highlands Ranch, Colorado). 

Men’s Prone Rifle Junior National Champion is Kellen McAferty (Littlerock, Washington), finishing with a 4.4-point advantage over Jared Eddy (Midland, Georgia). Fourteen-year-old Braden Peiser (San Angelo, Texas) finished third as the only J3 competitor in the field while Michael Jerome (Halifax, Massachusetts) was high J2 finisher. 

In Free Pistol, The Ohio State University’s Sam Gens (Andover, Massachusetts) had a 22-point advantage to easily walk away with more pistol awards as the Open and Junior National Champion. He beat his coach and former Buckeye Anthony Lutz (Orient, Ohio) with Gerry Sverdlin (Quincy, Massachusetts) finishing third. Ryan Yi (Diamond Bar, California) was the Junior runner-up followed by Paul Kang (Los Angeles, California).

USASNC19 Results:  http://bit.ly/2RMv0UL

PLEASE NOTE:  In the recap release from June 27, we erroneously listed Ginny Thrasher as breaking the national record in Women’s Three-Position Rifle with a score of 1181. However, that is factually inaccurate and reported wrong.  Sarah Beard maintains the national record of 1185, setting that back at the Winter Selection match in December 2018.  We apologize for any confusion this may have caused.

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