Tillar, AR -(AmmoLand.com)- The stage is set for an absolute ‘Thriller in Tillar’ as the nation’s best shotgun athletes compete for four Olympic Team spots at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Tillar, Arkansas, May 18-25.
One spot is available to the top overall finisher in Women’s Skeet, Men’s Skeet, Double Trap and Women’s Trap. The U.S. did not qualify for an Olympic slot in Men’s Trap, though the event will still be contested in Tillar. Results from stage one of Olympic Trials that took place October 9-17, 2015 in Tucson, Arizona, carry-over to this match. The program for stage two will include an additional two qualification rounds and two separate Finals matches per event. The winner will be the athlete with the highest cumulative score from four total qualification matches, plus bonus points obtained for any Finals finishes.
The Delta Shooting Sports Complex is hosting the major event, which is the second time the renowned shooting center is getting to host a major USA Shooting match. This time though the conditions and intensity will be entirely different than they were during the Fall Selection Match the resort hosted in November 2014. The Complex, located approximately 90 minutes from Little Rock, sits on 2,000 acres in the heart of Southeastern Arkansas, and includes five bunker fields and four skeet fields.
Women’s Skeet — Five-time Olympic medalist Kim Rhode (El Monte, California) did enough over 250 targets and two finals to ensure she’ll have a five-target advantage to start things in Tillar. Rhode built her lead by out-shooting her opponents by three targets during 250 qualifying targets over four days with a 237/250. She finished first in the first Final and then earned a bronze medal in the second Final. Rhode comes into Tillar having earned a silver medal during the recent Rio World Cup, while finishing sixth in the season-opening World Cup in Cyprus. Amber English (Colorado Springs, Colorado) is within striking distance, down by five after hitting 233/250 and finishing second and third in each of the two finals to put herself into second place. English finished fourth behind Rhode at World Cup Rio. Nine back of Rhode is 16-year-old Katie Jacob (Rochester, Michigan) who announced her presence among a talented field with a terrific performance throughout the week that included appearances in both finals. Since she’s earned a World Cup bronze medal in Cyprus and just won a gold medal at the Junior World Cup in Suhl, Germany. Dania Vizzi (Odessa, Florida) is in fourth position, 12 targets out. FULL STAGE 1 RECAP
Men’s Skeet — Four days of competition solved virtually nothing in the race to join two-time Olympic gold medalist Vincent Hancock (Eatonton, Georgia) in Rio. His 2012 Olympic teammate Frank Thompson (Alliance, Nebraska) is in the running as is U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit’s (USAMU) Hayden Stewart (Columbia, Tennessee). The two are tied in total points and there’s another nine athletes within 12 targets, setting up what will be a nerve wracking four days. Thompson was ninth at World Cup Rio while Stewart finished 13th. The most consistent performer in Tucson, Phillip Jungman (Caldwell, Texas), is in third, two targets out. Aaron Wilson (Lansing, Kansas) and Pan American Games champion TJ Bayer (College Station, Texas) are tied for fourth, four targets back. Bayer was a shoot-off away from making Finals during the Cyprus World Cup earlier this year. Dustin Perry (Lovelady, Texas) is five targets back in sixth. FULL STAGE 1 RECAP
Double Trap — As expected, the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) stood tall during the Men’s Double Trap portion of the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials. At the halfway point, it is 2012 Olympian Josh Richmond (Hillsgrove, Pennsylvania) who will hold a slight advantage over his two teammates heading into the conclusive match in Tillar. Richmond was a shoot-off away from reaching the Finals during World Cup Rio recently after finishing one-target out in Cyprus. Richmond’s familiar foes are none other than Derek Haldeman (Sunbury, Ohio) and Jeff Holguin (Yorba Linda, California). Haldeman held the advantage throughout qualifying, outshooting Richmond by three targets. But it was Richmond gaining the points he would need in each of the two event Finals, with both first and second-place finishes. Holguin, the 2008 Olympian and fourth-place finisher in Beijing, used a first-place finish during the second final to ensure he stayed within striking distance of his two challengers. He proved his readiness after a silver medal during World Cup Cyprus. FULL STAGE 1 RECAP
Trap — Janessa Beaman (Colorado Springs, Colorado) emerged as the front-runner in the grueling desert test last fall shooting three targets better in qualifying over two-time Olympian and 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Corey Cogdell-Unrein (Eagle River, Alaska) and then beating her in the second final to take a two-point lead. Cogdell-Unrein comes into Tillar having finished eighth and 12th in both World Cups this year. Beaman, meanwhile, hasn’t found her stride yet with 24th and 27th-place finishes. Also in contention is Ashley Carroll (Solvang, California), just five targets back. Her two World Cup finishes in 2016 have been ninth and 31st. FULL STAGE 1 RECAP
2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials Schedule:
- Tuesday, May 17 – Skeet (75 targets); Double Trap Official Training
- Wednesday, May 18 – Skeet (50 targets) + Final; Double Trap (150 targets) + Final
- Thursday, May 19 – Skeet (75 targets); Double Trap (150 targets) + Final
- Friday, May 20 – Skeet (50 targets) + Final
- Saturday, May 21 – Trap Official Training
- Sunday, May 22 – Trap (75 targets)
- Monday, May 23 – Trap (50 targets) + Final
- Tuesday, May 24 – Trap (75 targets)
- Wednesday, May 25 – Trap (50 targets) + Final
About USA Shooting:
USA Shooting, a 501c3 non-profit corporation, was chartered by the United States Olympic Committee as the National Governing Body for the sport of shooting in April 1995. USA Shooting’s mission is to prepare American athletes to win Olympic medals, promote the shooting sports throughout the U.S. and govern the conduct of international shooting in the country.