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Two Team Medals Concludes Shotgun World Championships

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (July 10, 2019)

4-peat World Gold for Women's Skeet Teams and this year's performers include Kim Rhode (left), Dania Vizzi (middle) and Sam Simonton. They came in to these World Championships, not as individuals competing in an individual sport, but as united team willing to do whatever it took to raise the flag. So, it’s only fitting on the final day of the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) Shotgun World Championships, we celebrate two more team accomplishments for America’s Shooting Team in Lonato, Italy.

The Women’s Skeet Team flexed once again on a big stage and earned a fourth-straight World Team title, every one of those teams featuring six-time Olympic medalist Kim Rhode (El Monte, California). Dania Vizzi (Odessa, Florida) and Sam Simonton (Gainesville, Georgia) join the three other U.S. women, including Amber English, Caitlin Connor and Morgan Craft, that have taken shots toward that success since 2015.

Additionally, the Junior Men’s Skeet squad of Alexander Ahlin (Bamburg, South Carolina), Ben Keller (Johnstown, Colorado) and Conner Prince (Burleson, Texas) stepped onto the podium as well, finishing as the team silver medalists after all three placed inside the top-11.  

This team theme highlights USA’s success over the past week as USA Shooting Team athletes combined to earn eight medals in the team events, including four gold. The strength of USA Shooting continues to be shown in the female ranks, with three of the four gold coming from U.S. women including a gold-medal sweep at the Open ranks in each of the two Olympic disciplines. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Women’s Trap Team Gold (Ashley Carroll, Rachel Tozier, Kayle Browning)
  • Jr. Women’s Trap Team Gold (Carey Garrison, Nicole Manhave, Faith Pendergrass)
  • Women’s Skeet Team Gold (Dania Vizzi, Kim Rhode, Sam Simonton)
  • Junior Skeet Mixed Team Gold (Austen Smith/Alexander Ahlin)
  • Open Skeet Mixed Team Silver (Kim Rhode/Christian Elliott)
  • Junior Men’s Skeet Team Silver (Alexander Ahlin, Ben Keller, Conner Prince)
  • Junior Women’s Skeet Team Bronze (Katie Jacob, Austen Smith, Jasmine Otis)
  • Junior Men’s Trap Team Bronze (Steven Brown, Grayson Davey, Roe Reynolds)

Head coach Jay Waldron (right) gives his approval of the USA Shooting Team performance from the ISSF Shotgun World Championships. Photo by Matt Zanis.Boosted by Vizzi’s fourth-place result Wednesday, individual results favored the U.S. women as well as they compiled four event Finalists, seven top-10s and 10 top-15s. Ashley Carroll (Solvang, California) was crowned World Champion in Women’s Trap and Katie Jacob (Rochester, Michigan) finished as the silver medalist in Junior Women’s Skeet.  The highest U.S. men’s finish was Steven Brown’s (Anchorage, Alaska) eighth-place result in Junior Men’s Trap with the team earning two top-10s and eight top-15 results. 

Vizzi has made a habit of competing her best when world supremacy is on the line and today was no exception. By making the Final after earning the top qualifying score with a 121/125, Vizzi has now appeared in all five World Championship Finals she has competed in.  Three as a Junior while winning gold, silver and bronze medals over three consecutive years, then climbing to the top of the podium in 2017 in her first year as an open competitor and Wednesday’s fourth-place result. 

In her 2017 Final, she was nearly flawless, missing just four targets out of 60 shots.  This time out she missed 12 times over 40 shots, which would force her elimination at the fourth spot. Olympic Champion Diana Bacosi of Italy was on her game in front of a big home nation cheering section, missing just two targets and hitting 30-straight in the end to earn the title.

Rhode was in line to perhaps join Vizzi in the Final, but an uncharacteristic round of 22 over her final 25 targets, would eliminate that opportunity and leave the three-time Olympic champion mired in 11th place overall, just one target out of a potential Finals berth. Her five misses over final two rounds were three more than she had combined for in her three previous rounds.  

Vizzi and Rhode now set their sights on the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, with competition set to begin in Women’s Skeet on August 1.

Simonton was also in line for a Finals push but she also had five misses over her Final two rounds to ultimately finish 13th.  She missed shot 21 on station 4 from the low house in each of her two rounds Wednesday. Still a junior competitor at age 19, Simonton is compiling quite a year having set the Qualification world-record mark at World Cup Acapulco earlier this year while winning a Junior National and Junior Olympic title.  She’ll be eager to compete at the upcoming Junior World Cup in Suhl, Germany, with skeet competition beginning one week from today.

Ahlin completed a stellar past 18 days in which he won a Junior Olympic title, teamed with Austen Smith (Keller, Texas) to win a Junior World title in the Mixed Team event Sunday, and then today just missing out on a Finals run with a ninth-place finish. He shot a Qualification score of 117 and would be forced to join in on a four-way shoot-off for one spot. A miss on the last shot of his opening pair would eliminate him.  He’ll try to keep things going as he now heads to Suhl also.    

Keller and Prince were equally up to the task behind Ahlin. Both opened the competition with rounds of 22, but improved from there and wound up missing the Final by one target after closing with rounds of 24. The 14-year-old Keller finished 10th with Prince coming in 11th.  The Italian trio earned gold, placing three athletes in the top eight. Keller and Prince are also bound for Suhl as well.

RESULTS:  http://bit.ly/2RTsIDh

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