by Joe Graf and Hap Rocketto - Friday, July 14, 2017
The Randle Team (pictured above) scores show that Erin McNeil’s 400-33X is the winner of the Eleanor Dunn Award. She led the team to a 3978-252X aggregate as the anchor to a lot of brand new Randle Team Alumnae who will carry on the tradition of this fine international postal event.
When the competitors went to the line on the final day of the individual competition they faced hot humid conditions and very dark and threatening sky.
There was virtually no wind in the Meter Match which was won by Mark Del Cotto’s near perfect 400-39X. Del Cotto’s victory came on a tiebreaker with Michele Makucevich. Army Teammates Mike McPhail and Kevin Nguyen both shot 400-38Xs with McPhail Creedmooring his fellow soldier for third place.
Junior Erick Hazelton punched out 38X while shooting a 400 for the Dewar win. Joe Graf and Cameron Keating were knotted at 400-38X and took home second and third respectively.
As the final 100 yard match began the sky darkened ominously. McPhail and Gray dueled it out for the win, with McPhail prevailing when his 400-37X outranged Gray’s. Pat Sunderman made it a sweep for the Army when he posted a 400-36X.
No sooner had the last shot been fired then a slight drizzle turned into a hard rain. Considering weather reports, the Match Director postponed the Team Matches until tomorrow when they will be fired before the Mentor Match.
Gray went clean on the day, one of eleven 1200 scores, with a 1200-108X for the win. Dan Pempel and Del Cotto added still another tie to the day when they found themselves knotted up at 1200-106X. The NRA rules dictated that Pempel was second and Del Cotto third.
Gray—the newly minted 2017 Metallic Sight Champion—did not falter during the second two days and took the Any Sight Aggregate with a 2400-218X, Del Cotto and Eric Uptagrafft tied in both number of points and Xs with a pair of 1400-106X scores. Del Cotto won the tiebreaker, earning the second step on the podium.
Both the Metallic and Any Sight Champion laurels adorning Hank Gray’s forehead were removed to make way for the champion’s crown. A superb four day effort saw him shoot 419 Xs, sixty 10s, and one nine for a 4799-419X. He was hotly pursued by second place finisher Mike McPhail who was two points behind with an outstanding X count of 438. George Norton tied McPhail on Points but fell behind on Xs accumulating 397—which gave him the bronze.
Read more about the 2017 NRA National Smallbore Rifle Championships: www.ssusa.org/articles/2017/7/13/day-3-2017-nra-national-smallbore-championships
Photo by Elizabeth Harty
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