Olympic quotas are up for grabs at this year's first ISSF (international Shooting Sport Federation) World Cup for Shotgun. Our friends at USA Shooting have sent 19 of the finest shotgun shooters in the country to Acapulco, Mexico, to compete on the international stage.
Team USA has already earned five Olympic quotas, the maximum earned in Men's and Women's Skeet. Shotgun athletes will earn Olympic Team slots by a trials system.
The competition begins Sunday, March 17 with Women's Trap. Team USA shooters in the hunt for the quota slot are Championship of the Americas bronze medalist Ashley Carroll, National ChampionAeriel Skinner and 14-year-old National Junior Olympic ChampionCarey Garrison. Mexico has been good to the women of the Trap team as Carroll has won two World Cup gold medals here (Acapulco in 2017 and Guadalajara in 2018) and Skinner won bronze in Guadalajara in 2018. Skinner also tied the Qualification World Record of 119 targets en route to her bronze-medal win.
As for the men, Championship of the Americas bronze medalist and 2008 Olympic gold medalist Glenn Eller is joined byBrian Burrows andWill Hinton seeking quotas. Eller narrowly missed out on possibly winning the first U.S. Men’s Trap quota since 2008 after winning the bronze at the November 2018 Championship of the Americas. Burrows won silver at the 2013 Acapulco World Cup, also finishing sixth in 2015. Eller and Skinner will also pair up for the Trap Mixed Team event, as well as Burrows and Championship of the Americas gold medalist Kayle Browning. The Eller/Skinner duo finished fourth in the Trap Mixed Team event at the Championship of the Americas last November.
Six-time Olympic medalist and NRA Board Member Kim Rhode (pictured at the top of this article) leads an upstart Women's Skeet contingent to Mexico. She will have her hands full because she's also shooting for a Women's Trap Minimum Qualifying Score (MQS). Any MQS athletes are not eligible for Finals or awards. Joining Rhode in Skeet will be Junior World Championship bronze medalistAusten Smith and National Championships silver medalistSam Simonton.
Leading Team USA's Men's Skeet group is two-time Olympic gold medalist and reigning World ChampionVincent Hancock. Notably, Hancock pocketed gold medals at every international competition he competed in last year and doesn’t look to stop his streak now, including equaling the Qualification World Record and Finals World Record at last September's World Championship. (See Hancock on the cover of the December 2018 issue of SSUSA.) Joining him are two-time Olympian and Championship of the Americas gold medalistFrank Thompson and Elijah Ellis. Thompson won his first World Cup medal in Acapulco when he took silver in 2017.
Stay tuned to SSUSA for more coverage of 2019 ISSF World Cup Acapulco.