COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (March 26, 2018)
For those athletes looking to punch their ticket to the 2018 International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Championship this summer in Changwon, South Korea, that journey concludes this week as 85 athletes head to Fort Benning, Georgia to compete at the Spring Selection Match for Rifle and Pistol.
Olympic qualification and country quota allocations will officially be on the line during this year’s World Championship. This selection match marks the second and final part of the World Championship Team selection process, as well as the final selection match for the ISSF World Cup in Munich, Germany and the Championship of the Americas (CAT Games) in Guadalajara, Mexico in November. Junior Rifle/Pistol athletes for the World Championship Team will be selected during the National Junior Olympic Shooting Championships next month in Colorado Springs. Non-Olympic event competitors (except the 300m Rifle events) will be selected during the USA Shooting National Championships.
Fall Selection was the first part of the qualification system established for all smallbore (.22 caliber) events and featured two Qualification matches with one Final based on the total aggregate score of the two qualification matches. The Winter Airgun Championships in December served as the first part of the selection process for the Air Rifle/Air Pistol events and had two Qualification matches and a Final as well.
The Spring Selection Match will also include two Qualification matches plus one Final based on the total aggregate score of the two Qualification matches. World Championship Team slots will be awarded based on the cumulative score of the Fall Selection/Winter Airgun Championships and Spring Selection matches.
Perhaps the tightest competition will be in Women’s Three-Position Rifle where the top four finishers are just separated by two points. Former NCAA Rifle champ Rachel Martin (Peralta, New Mexico, pictured) earned the victory with a score of 1171 and was joined by two current collegiate stars in Rachel Garner (Celina, Texas) of TCU and MacKenzie Martin (Fairhaven, Massachusetts) of Murray State University who both scored 1170. Just one point behind them is TCU Assistant Coach Hannah Black (Richmond, Virginia) with a score of 1169.
On the Men’s side, Matt Emmons (Brown Mills, New Jersey) was the top aggregate qualifier by three points after consecutive scores of 1176 in Three-Position Rifle Qualification. He would then go on to win the Final and bring his total selection points to 2360. His Olympic teammate Michael McPhail (U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit/Darlington, Wisconsin) finished in second seven-points back with a score of 2353. 2016 Olympian and reigning National Champion in the event Lucas Kozeniesky (Fairfax, Virginia) endured a back injury he suffered during a run the day before competition began and finished in third with a score of 2351.
Men’s Rapid Fire Pistol
The Men’s Rapid Fire Pistol competition becomes even more interesting with the absence of 1996 Olympic silver medalist and six-time Olympian Emil Milev (Temple Terrace,