To open the 12th Championship of the Americas (CAT) in Guadalajara, Mexico, Team USA shooters James Hall and Mindy Miles both won gold medals in Men’s Air Pistol and Women’s Air Rifle. Both shooters also earned Olympic quota slots for the U.S. in their respective events. Additionally, Hall and Miles’ teammate Ali Weisz won the silver medal in Women’s Air Rifle.
Hall (Anniston, AL) had the second-highest Men’s Air Pistol score going into the final, 574. While shooting the final he took the lead early, setting a CAT finals record with his score of 240.9.
“Winning a quota in my first international final is an amazing achievement!” said Hall.
“After working the past two years with coach Libby Callahan, I felt like I really polished my shot process and felt strong going into the event ... [National Coach] Jason Turner gave me a great strategy to keep me calm through the Final, which totally paid off,” he added.
Miles (Weatherford, TX) finished qualification for Women’s Air Rifle with a fourth place score of 623.4. Similar to Hall, in the final Miles set a CAT record with her score of 248.4.
Weisz (Belgrade, MT) had the highest Women’s Air Rifle score, 627, prior to the final. During the final, Miles and Weisz battled for the lead. Miles triumphed, winning the gold by a half-point.
In a USA Shooting press release, Miles said, “After having a sub-par match, I really wanted to win a quota for the U.S.”
She added, “Obviously during the final, I was behind Ali, but my thought in the moment was to absolutely secure the quota. If I couldn’t win it, I would make sure no other country would be within grasping distance of it.”
For the trio of Hall, Miles and Weisz, this was their first taste of winning medals in international competition.
And, our talented USA Shooting team members also earned team medals with their combined scores. In Men’s Air Pistol, Olympian Nick Mowrer and Jack Leverett III, along with Hall won the team gold medal. And not to be outdone, the Women’s Air Rifle team; consisting of the aforementioned Miles and Weisz, and also Sarah Beard, won the team gold medal for their event.
Why is CAT important?
CAT is the sole match where athletes can earn quotas for the 2019 Pan American Games, which will be held next summer in Lima, Peru. At the Pan American Games, there will two Olympic quota slots available for each event. This will be the last chance that shooters will be able to garner quota slots prior to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. The Championship of the Americas will conclude November 11.
Photos courtesy of USA Shooting