All eyes were on the Women’s Three-Position Rifle Final at the USA Shooting National Championships for Rifle and Pistol in Fort Benning, Georgia as three athletes were tied at the top with the same cumulative score over two days of Qualification, and another athlete was just one point away.
2016 Olympic gold medalist Ginny Thrasher(Springfield, Virginia), Sarah Beard (Danville, Indiana) and Elizabeth Marsh (Searcy, Arkansas, all three pictured) were all tied at the end of the two days of Qualification with a score of 2338, with each athlete putting up world-class scores over their two-competition. Morgan Phillips (Salisbury, Maryland) was just one point out of the lead with a score of 2337.
The medals of this event were narrowly decided on finish in today’s Final with Thrasher narrowly edging out Beard for the gold by one point. Marsh, who just celebrated her 20thbirthday earlier this week, would take home the bronze medal.
Marsh also won silver in the Junior Women’s Three-Position Rifle competition. The gold went to Phillips also claimed gold this week in Junior Women’s Prone Rifle. Katie Zaun (Buffalo, North Dakota) won the Junior bronze medal.
On the line at the home of the U.S. Army Marksmanship in southwestern Georgia were National Championship titles, as well potential invitations to the National and National Junior Teams for medalists. Medals were awarded in these events based on the cumulative score from two days of Qualification matches, as well as additional points earned based on finish in the Final.
The Men’s Air Rifle competition also awarded medals today with Dempster Christenson (Sioux Falls, South Dakota) winning the gold by just .9 point over 17-year-old Will Shaner (Colorado Springs, Colorado). 2016 Olympian Lucas Kozeniesky (Fairfax, Virginia) won the bronze medal.
Christenson was just .4 ahead of Shaner after two days of Qualification. As Christenson finished in second place and Shaner finished in third in the Final, he earned the required .5-point advantage to seal the win.
Shaner also claimed the gold medal in the Junior Men’s Air Rifle competition. Jacob Buchanan(Spring, Texas) won the silver and Brandon Mach (Riley Township, Michigan) won the bronze.
Women’s Sport Pistol also started today with another round of Qualification and Finals set for tomorrow afternoon. Alexis Lagan (Boulder City, Nevada), who just won the Women’s Air Pistol Championship title earlier this week, leads the competition with a score of 576. 2012 Olympian Sandra Uptagrafft (Phenix City, Alabama) is in second with a score of 573 and 18-year-old Sarah Choe (Los Angeles, California) is in third with a score of 571.
The first day of Men’s Free Pistol also began with James Hall (Anniston, Alabama) leading the field so far with a score of 542. Richard Gray (Fredericksburg, Virginia) is in second with a score of 531 and 13-year-old Paul Kang (Los Angeles California) is in third place with a score of 527. Another round of Qualification for this event will occur tomorrow.
In addition to the National Championships, this event is also a World Shooting Para Sport-sanctioned (WSPS, formerly IPC) match so Paralympic athletes from the U.S., Ireland, Canada, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Columbia are competing across the Paralympic Rifle and Pistol events.
In the R3 and R5 (Air Rifle Prone) events, Andrii Doroshenko of Ukraine currently leads the R3 competition with a score of 633.1. In R5, Vasyl Kovalchuk, also of Ukraine and the reigning Paralympic gold medalist in this event, currently leads the field with a score of 636.1. Another round of Qualification and Finals will take place in each of these events tomorrow.
More than 200 athletes are competing in the National Championships that run through tomorrow. This event is free and open to the public, please stop by the Fort Benning Visitor Center for a pass prior to coming to the range.
View the complete schedule of events: http://www.usashooting.org/library/Competitions/0_2018/RP_Nationals/Schedule/18_RP_Natls_Schedule_6.12.pdf.
View and download images at www.flickr.com/usashooting.