While there is still more than a year to go before the cauldron is lit at the Paris 2024 Games opening ceremony, the talented athletes at USA Shooting are wasting no time in preparation on the firing line, capturing medals and U.S. Olympic quotas with eyes firmly set on podium finishes.
From beginning to end, last year’s international season was a banner one for USA Shooting. At one competition alone— the November 2022 Confederación Americana de Tiro Championships in Lima, Peru—the team garnered a staggering 44 medals and 10 Paris Olympic quotas, the latter out of 12 up for grabs. Here we recap some of the best moments for Team USA in 2022.
RIFLE & PISTOL
At the 2022 ISSF World Cup in Cairo, Egypt, in February, Spc. Alison Weisz of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit won the bronze medal in women’s 10-meter air rifle.
On the other side of the globe in April at the World Cup in Rio De Janeiro, Spc. Sagen Maddalena, also a U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit competitor, earned her first-ever ISSF medal—a bronze—in women’s 3-position smallbore rifle. Next, the men’s air rifle team gold medal went to Rylan Kissell, Lucas Kozeniesky and Will Shaner after defeating the Czech Republic, 16- 12. Not to be left out, Will Shaner teamed with Alison Weisz to earn bronze in 10-meter mixed air rifle. Next, the women’s smallbore team of Sagen Maddalena, Mary Tucker and Morgan Kreb earned silver, while Ivan Roe, Tim Sherry and Lucas Kozeniesky landed bronze medals on the men’s side. Finally, Henry Leverett took the bronze in men’s 25-meter rapid-fire pistol. He was nine points behind gold-medal winner, Christian Reitz of Germany in the final.
A few months later at the 2022 ISSF World Cup in Changwon, South Korea, in July, Kozeniesky earned silver in men’s 10-meter air rifle.
Returning to Egypt with Team USA in October, Alison Weisz topped the women’s 10-meter air rifle leaderboard and landed the U.S. an Olympic quota at the 2022 ISSF World Championship in Cairo. The Tokyo 2020 Olympian defeated Yuting Huang of China in a thrilling shot-for-shot final. Her teammate, Maddalena, earned the U.S. another Olympic quota plus two medals, including a silver with Alison Weisz and Mary Tucker in the 10-meter air rifle women’s team event.
In March, the U.S. shotgun team was on fire at the 2022 ISSF World Cup in Cyprus, capturing seven medals, more than any other country at the match. Among them: Dania Vizzi, Caitlin Connor and Austen Smith earning silver in women’s skeet, along with Connor and teammate Adam McBee taking silver in mixed skeet.
Dania Vizzi, Caitlin Connor and Austen Smith also topped the women’s skeet team leaderboard at the 2022 ISSF World Cup in Lima, Peru, in April after defeating the Italian team, 6-0, in the gold medal final. Not to be outdone, Aeriel Skinner, Kayle Browning and Rachel Tozier followed with a gold medal performance in the women’s trap team event, taking down Guatemala, 6-4, in the final. In men’s trap, Derrick Mein, William Hinton and Casey Wallace also claimed victory with gold in the team event. The mixed trap team bronze medal went to Kayle Browning and Derek Haldeman. In mixed skeet teams, Smith and Dustan Taylor earned silver. As for the individual medals, Vizzi picked up another gold in women’s skeet, Mein a bronze in men’s trap, and Browning silver in women’s trap. In all, the U.S. shotgun team left Peru with 11 medals, four more than in Cyprus a month earlier.
Caitlin Connor gave USA Shooting its firstever ISSF skeet sweep in April after winning three golds at the 2022 World Cup in Lonato, Italy. Her medals were in the women’s skeet individual, women’s skeet team and mixed skeet team events. In the women’s skeet team event with teammates Amber English and Dania Vizzi, the trio triumphed over Italy in the gold medal final with a comfortable four-point margin, 7-3. Connor’s next gold medal was in the mixed skeet team event. Paired with Vincent Hancock, they earned first place, rocketing past France, 7-1. A terrific performance for their first time shooting together as a team. In all, the U.S. secured four medals in Italy.
In June at the 2022 ISSF World Cup in Baku, Azerbaijan, three-time Olympic gold medalist Vincent Hancock went three-forthree in skeet finals competition. His first gold came in men’s skeet after defeating Nicolas Lejeune of France in the final, 34- 29. Next for Hancock was the men’s skeet team event with Phillip Jungman and Adam McBee, taking down Greece in the gold medal final, 6-0. The third gold for Hancock was with Austen Smith in the skeet mixed team event, defeating Germany, 6-2, to complete his trifecta. On the women’s side, Caitlin Connor, Austen Smith and Dania Vizzi secured a silver medal in the women’s skeet team event. USA Shooting departed Baku with a total haul of eight medals, including four golds.
In September, Derrick Mein notched the first Paris Olympics quota for the United States after landing a spot in the men’s trap final at the 2022 ISSF Shotgun World Championship in Osijek, Croatia. Mein triumphed over British shooter Nathan Hales in the gold medal final, 33-31. The last time a U.S. competitor won an individual men’s trap world championship title was 1966—Kenny Jones at Wiesbaden, Germany.
2022 CAT GAMES & ISSF PRESIDENT’S CUP
Before last November’s CAT Championships in Lima, Peru, U.S. rifle and shotgun athletes were riding high after netting a combined 19 medals and five U.S. Olympic quotas at two ISSF World Championships in Croatia and Egypt. Without skipping a beat, at the 2022 CAT Games Team USA reigned supreme, with U.S. pistol, rifle and shotgun athletes earning a whopping 44 medals and 10 Olympic quotas for Paris 2024. (Read our recap.)
Finally, in December the ISSF President’s Cup in Cairo concluded the 2022 international season. In Egypt, Alison Weisz and Sagen Maddalena tied for third place in 10-meter women’s air rifle. Caitlin Connor led the way for Team USA in shotgun, winning women’s skeet gold after defeating Martina Bartolomei of Italy, 7-3, in the final. Connor also received the Golden Target award for her victory. In all, U.S. athletes earned six medals at the 2022 ISSF President’s Cup to close the year out strong.
ROAD TO PARIS 2024
By the close of 2022, the United States had secured 15 quotas in shooting events at the Paris 2024 Olympics. For each event, a country can earn up to two quotas. Here are the 10 events the U.S. has earned quotas for thus far: women’s 10-meter air pistol, women’s 25-meter pistol, women’s 10-meter air rifle (two), men’s 10-meter air rifle, women’s 50-meter rifle 3-position (two), men’s 50-meter rifle 3-position, men’s trap (two), men’s skeet (two), women’s trap and women’s skeet (two).
The ISSF world rankings at the close of 2022 placed two U.S. shotgunners at the top of their respective disciplines—Vincent Hancock the No. 1 skeet shooter and Derrick Mein the same in trap. In women’s 10-meter air rifle, Alison Weisz is the No. 2-ranked competitor, and Nick Mowrer holds the same rank in men’s 25-meter rapid-fire pistol.
Next up for USA Shooting are back-to-back ISSF World Cup matches, first Shotgun in Rabat, Morocco, from January 11-24, followed by Rifle and Pistol in Jakarta, Indonesia, from January 27 to February 8. For the latest updates, follow us on Twitter: @SSUSA_Magazine.