Over the next two weekends, the Colorado Springs Olympic & Paralympic Training Center plays host to the USA Shooting Winter Airgun Championships and Olympic Trials Part 1. Air rifle and para rifle competition days are Dec. 7-8, with air pistol and para pistol competition Dec. 15-16.
Registration for the air pistol competition is still open but the air rifle field is set and includes several notable entries.
The men’s air rifle field includes junior national champion and Junior Olympic champion Matthew Sanchez (Tampa, Fla.), who also placed fourth at the national championships; 2019 national champion and quota winner for air rifle at the 2019 Pan American Games Lucas Kozeniesky (Colorado Springs, Colo.); Army Marksmanship Unit’s Tim Sherry (Ft. Benning, Ga.) who was second at the 2019 national championships and currently leads the smallbore Olympic Trials standings; Patrick Sunderman (Smiths Station, Ala.), who sits second in the smallbore Olympic Trials standings; and Dempster Christenson (Colorado Springs, Colo.), quota winner at the 2018 CAT Games for air rifle.
The women’s air rifle competition features 2019 national champion and air rifle quota winner at the 2019 Pan Am Games Ali Weisz (Belgrade, Mont.); air rifle quota winner at the 2018 CAT Games Minden Miles (Weatherford, Texas); University of Kentucky’s Mary Tucker (Sarasota, Fla.) who is currently third in the smallbore Olympic Trials and is coming off a finals appearance at the Rio World Cup; 2016 Olympic gold medalist and current leader in the smallbore Olympic Trials Virginia Thrasher (Springfield, Va.); Anna Weilbacher (Leona Valley, Calif.) of the Air Force Academy, currently 7th in the smallbore Olympic Trials; Sarah Beard (Columbus, Ga.) of the Army Marksmanship Unit and currently 6th in the smallbore Olympic Trials; Army Marksmanship Unit’s Sagen Maddalena (Groveland, Calif.) who is 4th in the smallbore Olympic Trials; and Junior Olympic national champion Macey Way (Colorado Springs, Colo.).
The two-day competition format will feature finals taking place at the conclusion of Sunday’s qualification rounds. The event serves as part 1 of the Olympic Trials, with points carrying over to the second part of the trials taking place Feb. 7-9 in Colorado Springs for air rifle, and Feb. 24-March 2 in Ft. Benning, Ga., for air pistol.
This match also serves as one of the many chances for Paralympic athletes to get a registered score for the Paralympic Trials, which consist of a nearly year-long process where athletes need to register four courses of fire to be eligible for selection. Athletes with four courses of fire will have their top four scores averaged and the highest average score will be selected to the 2020 Paralympic Team.
Full selection procedures can be found here.
2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials Schedule
Saturday, December 7 – Men’s and Women’s Air Rifle
Sunday, December 8 – Men’s and Women’s Air Rifle + Finals
Sunday, December 15 – Men’s and Women’s Air Pistol
Monday, December 16 – Men’s and Women’s Air Pistol + Finals
Full schedule here.