In March at Fort Benning, GA, some of the best shooters in the country gathered to compete for upcoming international competition slots at the 2019 USA Shooting Rifle/Pistol Spring Selection Match.
This selection match decides who will compete at the two upcoming ISSF World Cups in Beijing, China, and Munich, Germany; as well as the 2019 Pan-American Games in Lima, Peru, this summer.
The top two finishers earned Pan-Am Games team spots, and those in the top three received World Cup Team spots. (See who won below.)
These particular matches represent the final opportunities for athletes to earn USA Shooting team quotas for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. These athletes will then earn U.S. Olympic Team slots via a trials system. (Learn more about the trials system for rifle and pistol.)
Air Gun Thirteen air pistol and air rifle athletes received spots.
Two Olympians, Lucas Kozeniesky and Nick Mowrer are headed to the Pan-Am Games.
Kozeniesky received the Pan-Am Men's Air Rifle selection, missing out on ISSF World Cup nods after stellar performances from Tim Sherry, Dempster Christenson and Matt Rawlings, who all earned spots.
Mowrer was selected for Men's Air Pistol, and will be joined by James Hall at the Pan-Am Games.
Last but not least for the men, junior shooter Hunter Battig earned his very first World Cup spot after overcoming 2016 Olympian Jay Shi.
Former Bulgarian national team shooter Miglena Todrova earned a Women's Air Pistol selection. She will shoot at both ISSF World Cups and the Pan-Am Games. Nathalia Tobar and Alexis Lagan will both compete with Todrova at the two World Cups.
As for Women's Air Rifle, fan favorite and Olympic gold medalist Ginny Thrasher will be shooting ISSF, but Ali Weisz earned the top spot and thus will be shooting the World Cups and Pan-Am Games. Additionally, Mindy Miles will join Weisz in Peru.
Smallbore Three Olympians and four junior shooters earned smallbore selections.
Four shooters earned spots during Air Gun, going on to earn smallbore spots.
Two-time Olympian Michael McPhail won the Men's 3-P Match. He was the only shooter to reach the 1170s.
For Men's 3-P Rifle, the aforementioned Nick Mowrer finished third in the event. This is not surprising, as he was the first U.S. shooter to earn World Cup medals in two different disciplines.
Sarah Beard won the Women's 3-P match, notably she was the only competitor to shoot in the 1160s.
Following up on her Air Rifle selection, Ginny Thrasher finished second in Women's 3-P, and will represent Team USA in Peru for the Pan-Am Games.
Fifteen-year-old Katie Zaun finished third behind Beard and Thrasher in Women's 3-P and is one of the youngest all-time World Cup shooters.
Alexis Lagan earned a selection for the World Cup in Air Pistol and Sport Pistol for the Pan-Am Games. Sandra Uptagrafft earned Sport Pistol spots for Pan-Am and the World Cups. Katelyn Abeln earned a World Cup selection in Sport Pistol.
Tim Sherry received a 50-meter 3-P Rifle selection.
Three-time Olympian Keith Sanderson earned World Cup spots in Rapid Fire Pistol. Joining Sanderson will be Henry Leverett and Jack Leverett, junior-class siblings that are rapidly ascending the ranks. Henry Leverett will also shoot at the Pan-Am Games.
Junior shooter Hunter Battig also earned a World Cup spot for Sport Pistol.