U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Airgun Began Last Friday

Henderson, Spurgeon, Lagan & Beard Claim Leads On Day 2 of 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Airgun
2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Airgun
USA Shooting
USA Shooting

Colorado Springs, CO -(AmmoLand.com)- The final five shooting athletes will punch their tickets to Rio following the conclusion of the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Airgun June 3 – 5 in Camp Perry, Ohio.

The top ten athletes in each discipline from the first part of the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Airgun in December – also known as the 2015 Winter Airgun Championships – earned a spot to compete in Camp Perry, as long as they also have the Minimum Qualifying Score (MQS) from an ISSF-sanctioned event. Those who did not find themselves in the top 10 or were unable to compete at the first part of the U.S. Olympic Team Trials got a second chance at a “last chance” match May 13 – 15 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. From that match, an additional seven rifle athletes (three men, four women) and three pistol (one woman, two men) earned the right to advance to Camp Perry.

This final part of the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Airgun will consist of three straight days of competition for each event, featuring three Qualifiers and three separate Finals. Each day’s qualifying scores and points from the event Finals will be added to each competitor’s score to get a cumulative total. Nominations to the U.S. Olympic Team will occur for each event pending the last Final of the given event. Only those athletes who have earned a 2016 Rio Qualifying Minimum Qualifying Score (MQS) will be eligible to compete in this Olympic Team Trial.

The scores from the “last chance” match and Winter Airgun Championships do not carry over to this final part of the Olympic Team Trials. The top athlete in Women’s Air Rifle, Women’s Air Pistol and Men’s Air Pistol following the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Airgun in June will earn a nomination to the Olympic Team. The top two athletes in Men’s Air Rifle will also earn Olympic Team nominations.

The most dominant performance at the Winter Airgun Championships came in Men’s Air Pistol from Will Brown (Twin Falls, Idaho), who finished the match with a 17-point lead on his nearest competitor, as well as posting a world-class qualifying score of 587 on the final day of the match.

It was a much tighter competition on the Women’s Air Pistol side as Courtney Anthony (Lexington, Nebraska) finished the three-day match with a mere one-point lead on Alexis Lagan (Salt Lake City). Sarah Beard (Danville, Indiana) led the Women’s Air Rifle competition by just 1.9-points over 2012 Olympian Sarah Scherer (Woburn, Massachusetts).

But as no scores carry over and no team slots were awarded in December, it’s still anyone’s game in Camp Perry.

Some notable additions from the “last chance” match will be 2012 Olympian Sandra Uptagrafft (Phenix City, Alabama) in Women’s Air Pistol and 2015 Pan American Games gold medalist Connor Davis (Shelbyville, Kentucky) in Men’s Air Rifle.

Uptagrafft missed the Winter Airgun Championships while she recovered from an injury to her shooting hand. She’s proven she’s once again ready to compete, surging on the final day of the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Smallbore in April to narrowly miss out on an Olympic Team slot in Women’s Sport Pistol to Enkelejda Shehaj (Naples, Florida) by one point.

2016 Olympic Team nominees Virginia Thrasher (Springfield, Virginia) and Jay Shi (Phoenix, Arizona) also placed in the top ten in Women’s Air Rifle and Men’s Air Pistol respectively in December. Due to their Olympic Team nominations in Women’s Three-Position Rifle and Men’s Free Pistol respectively, they will not compete in the final part of Trials for Airgun as they will also get automatic starts in Women’s Air Rifle and Men’s Air Pistol at the Olympic Games as they each have an MQS in these events.

Pre-event training starts Thursday with competition in all events beginning Friday morning. Follow USA Shooting on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for updates during the match.

*All U.S. Olympic Team nominations are subject to approval by the U.S. Olympic Committee.

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