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Ginny Thrasher and Lucas Kozeniesky Bring Home Gold at the Hungarian Open

Budapest, Hungary

Ginny Thrasher and Lucas Kozeniesky Bring Home Gold at the Hungarian Open 

 Team USA, comprised of Olympians Lucas Kozeniesky and Ginny Thrasher, wrapped up a successful Hungarian Open including three air rifle gold-medal performances despite months of no competition2021 Olympic Air Rifle Team Member Lucas Kozeniesky came away from the competition with a Gold medal, a new National Record, and three straight days of qualification rounds (180 total shots) without ever leaving the 10 ring. 2016 Olympic Air Rifle Champion Ginny Thrasher took home two individual gold medals from finals matches that came down to the last shot. 

The competition took place Friday, November 20 through Sunday, November 22, 2020. Scores from day one and two were combined to determine finals on day two. Day three, Sunday, was a standalone event that consisted of a qualification score and finals.  

Day one was already a productive day for Team USA. There was a lot of be learned from the first international Air Rifle Match for both Lucas and Ginny in over a year, but the pair settled in well and got to work. On the men’s side, five scored over 626.0, with Lucas sitting in 2nd place with a 629.5 after day one. Istvan Peni (HUN) led with a 631.0. For the women, Eszter Meszaros (HUN) led with a 632.3, while Ginny finished in 3rd with a 628.3.  

"I'm really proud of how my performance went at the Hungarian Open. I felt like a lot of what I was doing stateside is starting to translate to overseas competitions. When the pandemic first started, I decided to take time off and dive into training junior athletes, and when I was able to start training back up seriously in August, the time off was good for my performance preparation because it showed aspects of my training that were strong and others that were weak,” said Lucas Kozeniesky (Colorado SpringsColorado). 

Day two continued the trend of good scores. Istvan Peni (HUN) led the men’s qualification round with a 633.5, followed by Lucas in second posting a 628.9. Leading the women’s qualification round was Eszter Denis (HUN) with a 633.1, followed by Eszter Meszaros (HUN) with a 629.9, and Ginny scoring 628.7.  

Men’s and Women’s finals took place the afternoon of day two, both exciting matches that went down to the last shot, with Ginny and Lucas coming out on top at the end. Ginny had a shaky start in the finals and was in jeopardy of elimination after her 12th and 14th shots, but with a perfect 10.9 on the 15th and 10.5s and above in the remainder of finals, she sealed the gold with only 0.5 points separating her and the second-place finisher, Eszter Denes (HUN) 

Men’s medalists were Gold: Lucas Kozeniesky (USA), Silver: Istvan Peni (HUN), and Bronze: Peter Somogyl (HUN). Women’s medalists were Gold: Ginny Thrasher (USA), Silver: Eszter Denes (HUN), Bronze: Eszter Meszaros (HUN). On the women’s side, Ginny Thrasher (USA) won gold, Eszter Denes (HUN) won silver, and Eszter Meszaros (HUN) earned the bronze. 

“Coming to any match I always have two goals: win and learn. This past week in Hungary I was grateful to be able to do both,” said Ginny Thrasher (Springfield, Virginia). “After nine months without competitions, I was proud of my mental and physical stamina to have consistent qualification scores over three days, as well as my grit to win two very competitive finals. It’s a great testament to the hard work I’ve put in with the help of my support team and sponsors during this unusual year.” 

On day three the excitement was far from over. The qualification round left the range buzzing about the two scores that were over the current world record: Istvan Peni's (HUN) 634.5 and Lucas's 633.6. This score earned Lucas a new USA Shooting National Record. He previously tied the world record at Air Rifle Trials Part 2 back in February 2020 with a score of 633.5. Ginny led the women’s qualification with a solid score of 629.8.  

Lucas added, “Once we got out here, I was able to apply myself and get a good experience. The last day of competition, I shot the national record again and that was fulfilling, though I made mistakes in the last final. Overall, I didn't shoot anything less than a 10 in qualification and this experience was great for me. Having Ginny be here with me and having a lot of success too has been good for my performance. Both of us had our challenges and our victories, but most importantly we are making significant improvements towards our future opportunities. I'm feeling good about the Poland Open, with plenty of more ground to make up from this last competition. So far, so good. Go Team USA!" 

In Sunday’s men’s final, Istvan Peni (HUN) won Gold with an outstanding 251.5, with Lucas finishing sixth. The Women’s Final was a thriller with Ginny and Hungary’s Eszter Denes quickly separating themselves from the field with strong performances, trading 10.7s and 10.8s back and forth throughout the single-shot phase of the final. In the end, Denes set a new Hungarian National Record with a 251.7 including another 10.8 on her last shot, while Ginny  finished strong to win the Gold with a 252.1. 

Lucas and Ginny are not quite finished in overseas competitions. They are now headed to represent America in the Poland Open Kaliber which Ginny said, “should be another exciting and highly competitive international match.” This match will consist of a mixed team event for which the pair have been training together back home in Colorado. 

Through process, Ginny has started her career as well as any athlete could dream of, and she is continuing to learn and progress to this day. She is very proud to be able to represent the U.S. overseas and at national competitions as often and well as possible, including winning the very first Gold medal of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. In 2019, she graduated from West Virginia University Summa Cum Laude in Biomedical Engineering, 12 All-American Honors, 2 NCAA Individual Titles, and 2 NCAA Team Titles. Thrasher now resides in Colorado Springs where she is training as a professional athlete to earn her spot on the 202One Olympic Team.  

You can follow Ginny on FacebookInstagram and Twitter, as well as check out her website at ginnythrasher.com 

In 2016, Lucas became the first shooter from North Carolina State University to compete at the Olympic Games Rio 2016, placing 21stAfter the Rio Olympics, he went on to earn a Gold and Silver at World Championship Competitions in Lima and Guadalajara, respectively. At Olympic Trials Part 2 in February 2020, he tied a World Record and set a new United States Record with a score of 633.5, securing his spot on the Olympic Team and becoming the first Tokyo 2020 Olympic Qualified Athlete for USA Shooting. He also became the first Wolfpack All-American since 1975 while earning an individual selection to the NCAA Championships in air rifle. At the 2016 NCAA Rifle Championship, he finished among the top ten, firing the highest score in the preliminary round to match the program record with a score of 596. 

You can follow Lucas on Instagram and Twitter as well as check out his coaching business, Team Winning Solutions 

Follow USA Shooting on social media for more updates about Lucas and Ginny and their results from the Poland Open Kaliber! 

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