The USA Shooting Team picked up nine more medals today in the Mixed Air Rifle Team, Mixed Air Pistol Team and the Women’s and Men’s Trap events at the 12th Championship of the Americas (CAT) in Guadalajara, Mexico.
The USA Shooting Team also earned one Olympic quota when Kayle Browning (pictured) won gold in Women’s Trap. Overall the USA Shooting Team has acquired four Olympic quotas in Men’s Air Pistol, Men’s Air Rifle, Women’s Air Rifle and today’s Women’s Trap quota at CAT, surpassing the three-quota total at the 2014 CAT. Earning an Olympic quota in competition ensures the country a spot in that particular event, not necessarily the athlete. Athletes will earn Olympic Team slots via a trials system established by USA Shooting.
Browning (Wooster, Arkansas) and the rest of the U.S. women competing in this event – Ashley Carroll (Solvang, California) and Aeriel Skinner (Jackson, California) – qualified for today’s Women’s Trap Final. Carroll even set an Americas Qualification record with the top score in the competition of 121/125 targets.
Once in the Final, Browning would hit 45/50 targets to win the gold medal. Carroll was eliminated in the bronze-medal position with 34 hits and Skinner in fourth place with 29.
“It wasn’t my best score in the world, but I felt consistent,” said Browning. “The lighting was really bad so I think the key was staying aggressive. When you can’t see the well, you’ve just got to shoot it really fast. The first round today was the first time the sun came out during the match, so I had to change lenses, and of course the second the Final starts, a storm comes through and it starts raining on us and the lighting changes, so it was not ideal. Obviously, the quota was the goal, but we can’t put any unnecessary pressure on ourselves and just needed to out there and do what we needed to do.”
For their combined Qualification scores, Browning, Carroll and Skinner also earned a team gold medal.
On the Men’s Trap side – the top finisher for the United States would be 2008 Olympic gold medalist Glenn Eller (Katy, Texas/U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit) who won bronze. Over the 125 targets in Qualification – Eller would only drop one target in his second round of 25 targets to enter the Final with the highest score of 124. Once in the Final, however, Eller would drop five targets early in his first 20, but he continued to fight through to be eliminated in the bronze-medal position with 33 hits.
He, Grayson Davey (Anchorage, Alaska) and 2014 CAT silver medalist Jake Wallace (Castaic, California) won team silver for their combined Qualification scores. Davey, 17, finished Qualification just one target out of a potential Finals berth with a score of 117/125 to finish in eighth place. Wallace finished in 14th place with 116 targets.
The day, however, opened with the Air Pistol Mixed Team of 2012 Olympian Nick Mowrer(Butte, Montana) and Alexis Lagan (Boulder City, Nevada) winning gold. The team of 2012 Olympian Sandra Uptagrafft (Phenix City, Alabama) and James Hall (Anniston, Alabama) won silver.
Lagan/ Mowrer entered the Final with the highest combined score of 768, to equal the Americas Qualification record in this newly-minted Olympic event. Uptagrafft/Hall entered the Final with the second-highest score of 766.
Once in the Final, both American teams were within a fraction of a point of each other until the Final series when Lagan/Mowrer would pull ahead by 1.5 point to set an Americas record and win the gold. Lagan also won silver in Women’s Air Pistol yesterday. No quotas were available in either mixed team event at CAT.
But the Mixed Air Rifle Teams weren’t to be outdone. The team of recent Men’s Air Rifle gold medalist Dempster Christenson (Sioux Falls, South Dakota) and Women’s Air Rifle gold medalist Mindy Miles (Weatherford, Texas) won Air Rifle Mixed Team gold, and 2016 Olympian/recent CAT Men’s Air Rifle silver medalist Lucas Kozeniesky (Fairfax, Virginia) and Sarah Beard (Danville, Indiana) won bronze.
Miles/Christenson entered the Final with the highest combined Qualification score of 834.8. Beard/Kozeniesky would enter with the second-highest score of 829.3. Once in the Final, Miles/Christenson jumped to the lead early to set an Americas record in the Final of 496.7. Beard/Kozeniesky were eliminated in the bronze-medal position with a score of 429.4.
Competition continues tomorrow with the Trap Mixed Team event with Finals later in the day.
CAT is also the only opportunity for athletes to earn quotas for the Pan American Games next summer in Lima, Peru. Two Olympic quotas will be available in each individual event at the Pan American Games and is the last chance for athletes to earn quotas prior to the 2020 Olympic Games.
About CAT: The Shooting Confederation of the Americas (Confederaciòn Americana de Tiro – CAT) was founded and recognized by the ISSF in 1973 as the Continental Confederation for the Shooting Sport for all countries of the North and South America.
Shikar Safari Club International Foundation: USA Shooting received a generous grant of $50,000 to support the Pistol program from the Shikar Safari Club International Foundation. The grant will be used to prepare our athletes for 2020 Olympics through training camps and domestic/international competitions. Funds were used for the World Championship in South Korea and will be used for CAT as well. Throughout the years, the Shikar Foundation has been a huge supporter of USA Shooting; providing funds that would build a Trap bunker and Skeet field. They also financially supported a project for the 25m Rapid Fire and Sport Pistol targets that were converted in 2010 at the Olympic Shooting Center. Learn more here.