USA Shooting National Championships for Shotgun Begins 2015 World Cup Selection
Editor's Note: Today's feature comes to us courtesy of Kevin Neuendorf of USAShooting.With the US National Championships getting underway, it's time to start thinking 2015 World Cup-already.
With much of the year left to unfold, it's hard to believe that thoughts of 2015 will be on the minds of all competitors as the 2014 USA Shooting National Championships for Shotgun get underway tomorrow (August 2) in Colorado Springs.
Proving yourself as an elite member of the USA Shooting Team isn't a once-in-while type thing. No, it happens with every pull of the trigger and this year's Nationals is no exception. Even before the 30 members of the USA Shooting Team for shotgun competes overseas in Granada, Spain, for the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Championships, they will already be out starting to try and earn their spot on select teams for the 2015 ISSF World Cup season.
Part one of a two-part selection process is upon all athletes competing at Nationals for 2015 World Cups that include Mexico (March), United Arab Emirates (March), Cyprus (April) and Azerbaijan (August). All competitors will shoot two qualifying rounds of 150 targets and the competition will include two separate finals. The aggregate of points earned from both qualifications plus finals will determine medalists, National Team members and National Champions. The National Championships are serving as part one of the World Cup selection process with the Fall Selection Match in Tillar, Arkansas, set to be the second course of fire.
In addition, all 30 World Team members are expected to compete with Nationals serving as the final major tune-up for athletes set to compete at World Championships.
If World Cup success is any indication, the USA Shooting Team for Shotgun is as confident as it has been in recent history. USA Shooting Team athletes earned 13 shotgun medals in 2014. A Junior Team contingent featuring all 15 members of the Junior Team that will compete in Spain also earned seven medals as well at a Junior Cup in Suhl, Germany, including three gold, two silver and two bronze along with 11 top-seven performances. At the recently completed Spain Grand Prix, USA's double-barreled specialists earned nine medals as well. Highlighting this season's performance to date was a recent historic medal run at the Munich World Cup in which the shotgun team gathered seven podium finishes.
Brian Burrows (Fallbrook, California) will put his two-straight National Championships on the line in Men's Trap in hopes of regaining some of the edge he had prior to this season which has been a struggle. To make it three straight he'll have to defeat World Team members Ryan Hadden (USAMU/Pendleton, Oregon), Seth Inman (USAMU/Independence, Missouri) and best friend Jake Wallace (Castiac, California).
It looks like after two straight years there will be a new champion in Women's Trap with the absence of Rachael Heiden (Clinton, Michigan), after recently entering Physician's Assistant school. Kayle Browning (Wooster, Arkansas) along with two-time Olympian Corey Cogdell (Eagle River, Alaska) should be among those outside contenders in addition to the six World Team members competing. Browning finished 11th last year at Nationals ending a six-year streak of earning a medal in Colorado Springs. Recent World Cup medalists Victoria Burch (Kerrville, Texas) and Janessa Beaman (Colorado Springs) will be gunning for their first National Titles while preparing for World Championships as well. Burch and Beaman earned a 1-2 finish at the Munich World Cup while Beaman also scored a silver medal at the Spain Grand Prix earlier this month. Last year's National Championships bronze medalist Ashley Carroll (Sovlang, California) won the selection events for World Championships and recently finished third at the Spain Grand Prix.
Double Trap competitor Josh Richmond (USAMU/Hillsgrove, Pennsylvania) will look to keep active a 10-year streak of winning at least one medal at the U.S. Championships having started that run back in 2003 when he earned the bronze medal in open while also winning a junior title. Expect a three-man race for the U.S. title with 2008 Olympic gold medalist and current World Champion Glenn Eller (USAMU/Houston) and Jeff Holguin (USAMU/Yorba Linda, California) all battling for national supremacy. Junior World Champion Ian Rupert (Muncy, Pa.) will try and break the Army stronghold on the event.
Men's Skeet competitor Frank Thompson (Alliance, Nebraska) also has found success at Nationals having earned a medal in all but one event since 2007. He's confident too having won the recent Spain Grand Prix. He'll contend as usual with two-time Olympic gold medalist Vincent Hancock (Eatonton, Georgia) as well as this season's most successful male skeet shooter in Dustin Perry (Lovelady, Texas). Perry earned the first World Cup medal of his career to begin the season in Tucson with bronze followed by a fourth-place finish in Munich.
In women's skeet, Kim Rhode (El Monte, California) has picked up where she left off competitively before taking time away from the sport to have a baby last May with three World Cup medals in 2014 including two wins. Brandy Drozd (Bryan, Texas) and Haley Dunn (Eddyville, Iowa) have showcased the depth in this discipline with Drozd winning a silver medal and finishing fourth in two World Cup events, both times losing in a shoot-off to Rhode during the medal finals. Dunn joined the U.S. Team sweep in Munich with a bronze medal. Other top competitors include defending National Champion Amber English (Colorado Springs) and 2013 Junior World Champs silver medalist Dania Vizzi (Odessa, Florida).
2014 USAS National Championships for Shotgun Schedule
Trap Qualifying (75 targets)
Trap Qualifying + Final I (50 targets)
Trap Qualifying (75 targets)
Trap Qualifying + Final II (50 targets)
Skeet/Double Trap OTR
Skeet Qualifying (75 targets)
Double Trap Qualifying + Final I (150 targets)
Skeet Qualifying + Final I (50 targets)
Double Trap Qualifying + Final II (150 targets)
Skeet Qualifying (75 targets)
Skeet Qualifying + Final (50 targets)
-- Kevin Neuendorf