Super-finals, team events, competitive fun and cash prizes are all part of the USA Shooting Winter Air Gun Championships (WAG) hype, hosted for the second consecutive year with help from the CMP at its facilities in Alabama and Ohio from December 5-12.
Both pistol and rifle event formats included new competition components, such as individual open and junior finals, super-finals, three-person team finals and mixed team finals—mimicking new team events seen at recent World Cups and the Tokyo Olympics.
Air pistol sent the first shots down range in Anniston, Ala. A mix of Olympians, collegiate athletes and juniors dominated the individual and team events.
Two-time Olympian, Nick Mowrer finished with the men’s overall high score of 581, while Laura Acosta (Puerto Rico) finished with the women’s overall high score of 571. Mowrer would go on to win the men’s individual final, with Jason Gregoire securing silver and Anthony Lutz taking the bronze.
As for Acosta, she won the high-international award, but it was Katherine Ahn, Jenny Noh and Tokyo Olympian Alexis Lagan winning gold, silver and bronze, respectively, in the individual women’s final. Noh proved that age is just a number when it comes to competitive shooting as the only U15 athlete in the open final taking home a silver.
The pistol junior individual finals included many members of the El Salvador Team that competed earlier this year, as well as the Junior World Championship team which competed last month. On the junior men’s side, Nathan Bae, Remington Smith and Jonathan Dorsten went one, two and three, while Suman Sanghera, Ada Korkhin and Katelyn Abeln topped the junior women leaderboard.
The three-person pistol team of James Hall, Nathalia Tobar and Gregoire squeezed out a victory over Mowrer, Lagan and Lisa Emmert. Emmert received redemption with teammate and Tokyo Paralympian, YanXiao Gong, winning gold over the mixed team of Gregoire and Sandra Uptagrafft. Gong took home the gold in the men’s para category ahead of teammate Marco De La Rosa and Josue Lopez, medaling silver and bronze.
While there’s no overall WAG winner, Gregoire departed Anniston a triple-medalist—including two silvers and a gold. (Gregoire also competed on the U.S. Mayleigh Cup Team this summer at Camp Atterbury—Ed.)
The rifle championship took place simultaneously in both Anniston, Ala., and Camp Perry, Ohio.
U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (AMU) soldiers Ali Weisz, Sagen Maddalena and Sarah Beard posted scores placing at the top of the women’s overall three-day aggregate in Alabama. Weisz, a Tokyo 2020 Olympian, scored the highest individual score and personal best of 632.8 the first day of competition. Weisz and Maddalena earned gold and silver medals in the Alabama women’s final, with 2016 Olympic gold medalist Ginny Thrasher taking the bronze. Tim Sherry, another solid AMU athlete, scored the highest aggregate three-day total, earning him a spot in the men’s open finals, finishing third behind runner-up Brandon Muske and Olympic silver medalist Lucas Kozeniesky.
Peninah D’Souza won gold in the U21 women’s junior category, and Scott Rockett, a freshman on the Air Force Academy rifle team, won the U21 men’s junior gold. Camryn Camp is the U18 women’s junior champion, Braden Peiser the U18 men’s junior champion, Tyler Wee won the U15 men’s junior gold and Briley Sralla the U15 women’s junior gold for Alabama. In addition to winning gold in their categories, D’Souza, Camp and Wee scored the highest aggregate total in their entire age group, which included both male and female competitors.
USA Shooting para athletes also gathered in Anniston to compete in R2, R3, R4 and R5 events. Leonard Esparza, Kevin Nguyen and Robert Beach went one, two and three in the R3 event, juniors Madison Champion and Benjamin Hays took gold and bronze, respectively, in the R3 event with Jazmin Almlie-Ryan earning silver. It was Almlie-Ryan and Champion again with the silver and bronze win in the R5 event where Paralympian and Paralympic Finalist, Stetson Bardfield won gold. In the same R5 event, Hays won gold, Trent Clayton secured silver and Haricharan Tadpatri took bronze in the junior category.
Up in Ohio, it was the same competition with a different story, where several top shooters proved their depth in the finals.
Incoming West Virginia University freshman, Natalie Perrin, scored the highest aggregate three-day total of all competitors in Ohio, earning her a top spot in the women’s finals, where she secured the silver behind future WVU teammate Molly McGhin’s gold medal finish. In addition, Jeanne Haverhill, who had the highest aggregate three-day total out of all the open competitors, won bronze.
University of Alaska-Fairbanks standout Rylan Kissell totaled the highest aggregate score on the men’s side, but it was Kellen McAferty, Matt Sanchez and Brandon Evans taking gold, silver and bronze in the men’s final. As for Kissell, he barely missed out on a medal with his fourth-place finish.
Perrin and Kissell were crowned champions in their respective women’s and men’s U21 junior category, Emme Walrath is the U18 women’s junior champion, Evans the U18 men’s junior champion, Dietrich Bergman won the U15 men’s junior gold and Shannon Moriarty the U15 women’s junior champ in Ohio.
After the individual finals, three-person teams entered the hunt for additional WAG titles.
The Anniston three-person team of Maddalena, Weisz and Roe claimed victory over the team of Beard, Katie Zaun and Rachael Charles. Shifting to Ohio competition, Chance Cover, Kera Kaufman and Haverhill defeated the three-person team of Borthwick, Julie Klusmeier and Brian Parziale to win the gold.
USA Shooting is proud to have offered the second consecutive Winter Air Gun Championship competition at both CMP locations and accommodating over 400 competitors.
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