From the vault: Our match report from the 2011 Championship of the Americas, where Team USA posted multiple podium finishes. As published in the January 2002 issue of Shooting Sports USA.
U.S. Dominates The Competition at 2001 Championship of the Americas
By Scott Engen
As part of the four-year cycle of international shooting sports competition, 2001 was the year of the Championships of the Americas wherein athletes from nations throughout North, Central and South America, as well as the Caribbean Islands, gathered to test their shooting skills against one another. Conducted under the authority of the Confederaciòn Americana de Tiro, the 2001 events were organized by USA Shooting and conducted from September 30 through October 7 at the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit’s ranges at Fort Benning, Georgia.
Due to the terrorist attacks two weeks earlier in New York City and Washington, D.C., there was some question as to whether the 2001 CAT events would take place at all. Because of the combined efforts of USA Shooting and the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit, the CAT events proceeded as planned. While some nations were no-shows, nearly 250 competitors from 13 nations did attend, competing in more than two-dozen different shooting events in all four international disciplines.
The United States sent the largest team of athletes to CAT, and the hometown favorites walked away with a trove of medals from nearly every event contested. In the team matches, the U.S. took the gold in each event. With only one exception, Americans also took their place on at least one step of the awards podium in each of the individual events. Due to CAT rules and traditions, no nation is allowed to sweep the medals podium in any single event, so in several cases the bronze medal was awarded to the highest-place finisher from a country other than the United States.
Americans Bill Demarest and Daryl Szarenski won the top two places in the men’s air pistol event. Demarest, of Lake Forest, Calif., and currently the world record holder in men’s free pistol, posted 577 of a possible 600 points in the qualifying round and added a 99.9 final round score for the gold. A native of Saginaw, Michigan, and a member of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit, Szarenski shot an impressive 101.6 final to make up most of the margin on Demarest ended up with the silver medal, a mere three-tenths of a point from the winner’s pace. The bronze medal went to Julio Molina of El Salvador, edging ahead of Beach Park, Illinois, native and United States Olympic Training Center resident Mike Douglass. Fellow Americans competing to establish a minimum qualifying score for future international competition invitations included USOTC resident shooters John Bickar of Canton, Ohio, posting a 575 and Jason Turner of Rochester, New York, posting a 570. American junior Rene Langlois took bronze in that class behind Sebastian Ochoa of Columbia, and Emilio Velez of Mexico.
Men’s free pistol was the only event in which no American was on the individual medals podium. Leading the qualifying round was Bernardo Tobar, a shooting coach from Cali, Columbia, with a 558. Turner and Sergio Sanchez of Guatemala were locked together with 555. Buddy DuVall also found a place in the final with a 544. Douglass also picked up a spot in the final with a 540.
As the final commenced, Turner’s 72.2 final score pulled him out of medal contention. In the end, Tobar posted a 747.5 for the gold, with Sanchez a bit more than one point back for the silver and Chris Rice of the Virgin Islands in third at 633.7. DuVall took fifth with a 628.9, Turner sixth at 627.2 and Douglass was seventh at 625.7. Szarenski, shooting for a match qualifying score (MQS), posted the day’s high score of 563, and Demarest posted an MQS effort of 548. U.S. juniors James Diefenderfer put up a 520 for silver and Cody Maxwell of Woodland, Colorado, posted a 515 for the bronze.
Bickar, Szarenski and Eric Weeldreyer posted the top three scores in men’s center-fire pistol. Bickar secured the gold medal with a solid performance on both halves of the competition, posting a 291 in precision and a 297 in the rapid-fire portion, resulting in a score of 588 of a possible 600 points, a mere two points off the current world record in the event. Szarenski stayed within a point of Bickar in the first half of the competition, but could not keep up the pace in the rapid-fire portion and finished 11 points back for the silver. Weeldreyer, a gun store owner from Kalamazoo, Michigan, posted the third highest score in the event at 573, but the bronze medal was awarded to James Doig of Canada, with a score of 567.
Bickar and Szarenski also took the top two spots in the men’s standard pistol event. Bickar secured the gold medal with another solid performance in both the 15-second and the 20-second series, resulting in a score of 570 of a possible 600 points. Szarenski trailed Bickar by three points for the silver medal, while Stanley Wills of Canada finished a distant third at 559. Maxwell and Jeremiah Prough of San Diego, California, finished one-two in the junior class.
Bickar and John McNally took two of the top three spots in men’s rapid-fire pistol. Bickar won the silver medal by posting a 290 and a 292 on each half course along with a 96.3 final round. Entering the finals, McNally, a five-time U.S. Olympian in this event from Heath, Texas, held a narrow one-point lead over both Bickar and Columbia’s Tobar. McNally’s last two shots were wide of the 10-ring on his second five-shot pass, and the score dropped him into third place, giving the victory to Tobar. Other American finishes included Tony Pikman of Short Hills, New Jersey, in fifth position at 566 with a 96.6 final, and Weeldreyer firing to post a MQS at 559. Juniors Maxwell and Prough took first and third in the junior class.
Beki Snyder of Grand Junction, Colorado, and Sandra Uptagrafft of Longmont, Colorado, took the top two spots in the women’s air pistol event. Snyder secured the gold with a qualifying round score of 381, then added a 96.6 in the medals final round. Uptagrafft trailed Snyder by only a single point from the qualifying round and was steadily closing the gap until the last shot when Snyder was only two-tenths of a point ahead. Uptagrafft’s final shot scored a 9.2, while Snyder put her last shot deep into the 10-ring, scoring a 10.7 for the gold medal. Luisa Maida of El Salvador fired a steady match to finish third with a 373 and 95.8 final. U.S. junior shooters Christina Cassidy, a resident athlete at the USOTC, and Jennifer Trickett of Woburn, Massachusetts, went one-three in that class.
Snyder and Bowman took the top two spots in women’s sport pistol. Snyder secured the gold medal with an impressive performance in precision series, dropping only four points in 30 shots and ending the match with a score of 584 of a possible 600 points. Bowman trailed by nine points going into the final, but even a stellar 102.0 final series could not make up Snyder’s margin. Bowman finished the day with the silver medal, while Kim Eagles of Canada finished more than four points behind for the bronze. Other American finishes included Uptagrafft in fourth position, while U.S. junior shooters Trickett and Cassidy went one-two in the junior class. Maxwell and Prough took the gold and silver in the junior men’s sport pistol event, with scores of 559 and 539, respectively.
The most impressive rifle performances of the 2001 CAT Games came from New Jersey native Matt Emmons, a 20-year-old accounting student from the University of Alaska-Fairbanks. Emmons swept all three Olympic rifle events for men, winning a gold in 10-meter air, 50-meter prone and 50-meter 3×40.
In air rifle, Emmons led the entire field from the very first shot, and posted a 595 of a possible 600 to take an impressive seven-point lead into the final round, then added another 102.2 points to keep his hold on the gold medal. Shane Barnhart of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit finished in second place with a 689.8, followed by the U.S. Navy Reservist Eric Uptagrafft, a member of the 1996 U.S. Olympic Team, in the third position at 686.9. The bronze medal was awarded to fourth-place finisher Roberto Elias of Mexico, with a 685.0.
American junior shooters Aaron Shader’s 584 and Matt Rawlings’ 582 provided a one-two finish. Emmons and Uptagrafft took the top two places in the men’s 50-meter prone rifle event. Emmons posting 596 of a possible 600 points in the qualifying round, trailing Uptagrafft’s 597 by a single point. Emmons 102.6 final round score was enough to overtake Uptagrafft by a slim three-tenths point margin for the gold. The bronze medal went to Henry Gerow of Canada. American juniors Bradley Wheeldon and Matt Rawlings provided a one-two finish at 583 and 581, respectively.
Emmons took his third gold medal in as many attempts in men’s 50-meter 3-position rifle. He posted 1171 of a possible 1200 points in the qualifying round, and U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit shooters Mike Anti and Jason Parker by four and eight points, respectively. Emmons held his ground in the medals final round, firing a 99.8 to hang on to the gold. Parker also shot a 99.8 in the final, allowing him to overtake Anti for the silver medal. Anti’s ending score totaled 1261.4, but the bronze medal was awarded to Elias of Mexico, with his score of 1240.3.
The Americans took the gold in the 3-position team event as Emmons, Parker and Anti joined forces to post a total of 3501 points. The American shooters’ team effort was two points better than the existing world record, but will likely not be recognized on the record books due to the limped number of entries in the team event. American junior shooters Bradley Wheeldon and Matt Rawlings provided a one-two finish at 1156 and 1141, respectively, with Canada’s Steven Cacka taking the bronze at 1075.
American teenager Sarah Blakeslee took home her first international medal with a bronze in the women’s air rifle event. Blakeslee, of Vancouver, Washington, secured the third position in the medals final round with a 389 of a possible 400 points. Her 102.4 final round score was the best among the eight finalists, but was not enough to make up the needed distance on her opponents. The gold medal went to Alejandra Gomez of Mexico, whose 102.0 final moved her ahead of veteran Sharon Bowes of Canada. Fairfield, Connecticut, native Emily Caruso, a resident at the USOTC, held on through the final to finish in fourth, followed by her U.S. teammate Nicole Allaire of Kearney, New Jersey, in fifth. American junior shooters Morgan Hicks and Jamie Beyerle provided a one-two finish at 387 and 379, respectively, with Mexico’s Evelyn Gonzales taking the bronze, just one point back.
Vicki Goss took the gold medal in the women’s 50-meter prone. Goss, 17, from Palmyra, Pennsylvania, posted a 586 of a possible 600 points in the qualifying round to hold off a spirited challenge by former Canadian Olympic team member Sharon Boles. The bronze medal went to Patricia Rivas of El Salvador posting a 583. Beyerle and Hicks provided a one-two finish among juniors at 592 and 589, respectively, with Canada’s Meghan Sutherland taking the bronze at 557.
Caruso came back with a vengeance in the women’s 50-meter rifle 3-position event, posting a 576 in the qualifying round to take a five-point lead over teammate Celeste Green and seven points on Goss. Caruso’s 97.6 final round secured the gold medal, with Green’s 666.6 good for the silver and Goss closing in, only 0.6 back. The bronze medal went to Veronica Rivas of El Salvador, at 659.7. American juniors Byerle and Hicks went one-two at 580 and 575, respectively.
In the 300-meter rifle events, Steve Goff, recently retired from the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit, put a score of 597 on the board for the win in men’s 300-meter prone. Glenn Dubis, shooting on his U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit home range, trailed Goff by one point for the silver and Eric Uptagrafft posted a 593. The bronze went to Bruce Meredith of the Virgin Islands, with a 577.
In the 300-meter standard rifle 3-position match, Goff and Dubis swapped places on the podium. Dubis equaled the current world record at 589 with Goff five points back for the silver. The U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit’s Shane Barnhart ended the day at 577, and the Virgin Islands’ Meredith picked up the bronze medal with a 547.
Americans Bill Johnson and Armando Ayala took the two top spots in the 50-meter men’s running target mixed event. Both Johnson of Woodville, Michigan, and El Paso, Texas, native Ayala, shooting for the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit, fired a 382 of a possible 400 points in the match. In the 10-round shoot-off for the gold medal, Ayala scored a 90 compared to Johnson’s 95, giving Johnson the top honors. Fellow Texan Lance Dement, also with the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit, scored 377 to place third, but with the no-sweep rule, the bronze medal was awarded to Carlos Silva of Guatemala, with a score of 287. John Rock of Lathrop, California, and Trevor Peterson of Blackfoot, Idaho, went one-two in the junior class.
Johnson and Ayala took two of the top three spots in the 10-meter men’s running target 30+30. Ayala emerged from the qualifying round tied with Andres Torres of Columbia, with a score of 567, while Johnson trailed both by four points at 563. Torres posted a solid final round of 98.5 for the gold. A 97.6 from Johnson allowed him to overtake Ayala for the silver. Ayala finished with a total score of 660.2, just four-tenths of a point behind Johnson. Rock and Peterson went one-three among juniors.
In the 10-meter mixed runs, Torres took another gold with a 381,followed by Ayala at 376 and Holland at 374. Junior honors went to Peterson at 356, a one-point margin over Julio Dardon of Guatemala. Rock took home the bronze at 336.
Americans Kelly Miltner of Denver, Colorado, and Leigh Haase of Chalmette, Lousiana, took the top two spots in the women’s 10-meter running target 20+20. Miltner posted 178 of possible 200 points in the slow runs and 170 of 200 in the fast runs for a match score of 348 and the gold medal. Haase matched Miltner’s fast run score, but faltered in the slow runs to finish with the silver.
Americans Glenn Eller and Benton Enomoto took the top two spots in men’s double trap. Eller, from Katy, Texas, fired a 133 in the qualifying round to establish a six-point lead over 1996 Olympic bronze medalist Lance Bade from Vancouver, Washington, and a nine-point lead over Colorado Springs’s Enomoto. Eller then shattered 45 of the 50 targets presented in the final round, as Enomoto hit 44 and Bade faded to third, powdering 40. Lucas Bennazar of Puerto Rico won the bronze with a score of 120. Las Vegas, Nevada, resident Adam Curtis and Kevin Parrott of London, Kentucky, finished one-two in the junior class.
Josh Lakatos and Richard Chordash took the two top spots in the men’s trap event. Lakatos, a 1996 Olympic silver medalist from Pasadena, California, fired a 116 in the qualifying round, trailing Chordash by only one target. Chordash, from Ithaca, New York, hit 23 of 25 in the finals round while Lakatos shattered all 25 birds for a single-point win. George Leary of Canada finished six targets behind Chordash for the bronze medal. Juniors Seth Inman of Colorado Springs, Colorado, and Matthew Wallace of Stanton, Tennessee, finished tied at 107 targets each, with five birds thrown to each before Wallace missed one and gave the junior gold to Inman.
David Allen Treadwell and the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit’s Todd Graves took the top two places in men’s skeet. Treadwell busted 123 of the 125 clay targets thrown during the qualifying round. He then ran all 25 targets in the final round to take the gold medal with a score of 148—only two points off the current world record. Graves, a bronze medalist in this event in the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, trailed Treadwell by four birds for the silver medal. The bronze medal went to Diego Duarte of Columbia. American junior shooters Clay Hart and Randy Sotowa provided a two-three finish at 120 and 117, respectively, behind Felix Hermida of the Dominican Republic at 120.
Kim Rhode and Kyndra Hogan took the two top spots in the women’s double trap event. Rhode, a two-time Olympic medalist in this event from El Monte, California, fired a 106 in the qualifying round to establish a five-point lead over Hogan. USOTC’s Hogan then responded with a 35-target finals round compared to Rhode’s 32, narrowing the Californian’s margin of victory to only two birds. Canada’s Cynthia Meyer emerged from the qualifying round with 91 targets and posting a 29 in the final medals round for the bronze medal. Rhode Island’s Kirby Anderson and Stephanie Williams of Las Vegas, Nevada, finished one-two in the junior class.
Lacy Holtz and Ellie Schad took two of the top three spots in the women’s trap event. Holtz was neck-and-neck with Canada’s Cynthia Meyer throughout the competition, each emerging from the qualifying round with 63 targets and posting a 22 in the finals round. The hot Georgia winds were gusting as the pair stepped to the line for a sudden-death shoot-off, and Holtz’s first bird escaped unscathed while Meyer’s shattered, giving the top spot to the Canadian. Schad, of Colorado Springs, Colorado, stayed close to the two leaders, even making up one target in the final and ended the day two birds off the winning pace. Georgia’s Emma Simpson and Collyn Loper of Indian Springs, Alabama, finished one-two in the junior class.
Americans Linda Ferrence and Connie Smotek took the top two places in women’s skeet. Ferrence, of Normal, Illinois, smashed 70 of 75 clay targets thrown during the qualifying round, and then hit 23 targets in the final round to take the gold medal with a score of 93. Smotek, of Arcadia, California, trailed Ferrence by six birds at 64, adding another 24 in the final for 88 and the silver medal. Rhode also finished the match with an 88, but missed one target in a shoot-off with Smotek. The bronze medal went to Linda Conley of Canada, with her total score of 81. Leigh Ann Crozier of Pine Mountain, Georgia, and Haley Dunn of Eddyville, Iowa, provided a one-two finish among juniors at 64 and 58, respectively.
In several cases during the 2001 CAT Games, existing world records were equaled or broken, but due to the limited number of entries, these stellar performances will likely not be recognized by ISSF as new world records.
Editor’s note: At the most recent Championship of the Americas—the 2022 CAT Championships in Lima, Peru—United States pistol, rifle and shotgun athletes earned 44 total medals, plus 10 U.S. Olympic quotas for the upcoming Paris 2024 Olympic Games.