KERRVILLE, Texas – Top shotgun shooters from around the United States will be vying for spots on the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Shooting (Shotgun) March 8 to 16, which will be held at the Hill Country Shooting Sports Center. The U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Shooting is a collaborative partnership between the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Shooting.
“USA Shooting is very pleased to be holding the Olympic Trials at the Hill Country Shooting Sports Center, which has been designated as an official Olympic Training Site by the USOC,” said USA Shooting Executive Director, Bob Mitchell. “This excellent shooting venue is the result of a partnership between the USOC, USA Shooting, Hill Country Shooting Sports Center and the community of Kerrville, Texas. We look forward to hosting an exciting competition for our shotgun athletes.”
Shotgun athletes will be selected to the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team based on the aggregate score from both the Fall Selection competition, which was conducted in August and this Spring Selection Match.
There are eight spots available to the U.S. Olympic Shotgun team – two in Men’s Skeet, two in Men’s Trap, two in Men’s Double Trap, one in Women’s Skeet and one in Women’s Trap.
Three-time Olympian and 1996 Bronze Medalist Lance Bade of Vancouver, Wash., is currently standing in first place for Men’s Trap with a score of 246, while three-time Olympian retired Army Sgt. 1st Class Bret E. Erickson is in second place with a score of 244. Brian Burrows of Fallbrook, Calif., is currently in the third spot with 242. Air Force Maj. Michael Herman, Air Force Reserve Maj. Dominic Grazioli and Derrick Mein of Walnut, Kan., are all tied for fourth place with 241 targets.
In Women’s Trap, 2004 Olympian Collyn Loper of Indian Springs, Ala., is in first place with a score of 234 targets. Amanda Dorman of Colorado Springs, Colo., is currently standing in second with 233 targets, but is expecting a baby in April and therefore will not be able to compete at the Olympic Trials. Susan Sledge of El Cajon, Calif., is in third place with 231 targets, while 1996 Olympian and U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit Sgt. 1st Class Theresa E. DeWitt of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit of Fort Benning, Ga., is in fourth place with 230. Mimi Wilfong of Malakoff, Texas, is in fifth place with 227 targets, while Corey Cogdell of Eagle River, Alaska, the 2007 Pan-American Games and World Cup Korea Bronze Medalist, and USAMU Sgt. 1st Class Joetta R. Dement are tied for sixth place with a score of 226 targets.
Two-time Olympian and USAMU shooter Pfc. Walton Glenn Eller III is in first place for Men’s Double Trap with a score of 288 targets. Eller’s USAMU teammates Spc. Jeffrey G. Holguin and Sgt. Joshua M. Richmond are in second and third place respectively with scores of 286 and 278 targets. USAMU’s Staff Sgt. William H. Keever, who is a 2000 Olympian, is in fourth place with 271. Bryce Gearhart of Freeburg, Pa., and Gregory Patton of Williamsport, Pa., are tied for fifth place with 268 targets.
Eller, Holguin, Richmond and Keever dominated the podium in Double Trap competition on the international level in 2007. Eller claimed the Gold Medal at the World Cup in Korea in April as well as the World Cup final in October. Richmond took the Gold at World Cup Italy in June. Richmond and Holguin also claimed the Gold and Silver in Men’s Double Trap at the 2007 Pan-American Games. Keever was the 2007 World Cup Korea Bronze Medalist.
Pfc. Vincent C. Hancock of the USAMU who is the 2007 World Cup Italy Champion, world record holder and 2007 Pan-American Games Gold Medalist, is currently standing in first place for Men’s Skeet with a score of 247 targets. Sean McLelland of Mission, Texas, is in second with 243, while USAMU’s Staff Sgt. Mark L. Weeks is holding third place with 238 targets. Clay Hart of Athens, Ga., is in fourth place with 237 targets. USAMU members 2004 Olympian Sgt. 1st Class Shawn C. Dulohery and four-time Olympian and 2000 Olympic Bronze Medalist Sgt. 1st Class James Todd Graves, along with Frank Thompson of Alliance, Neb., and Scott Schroeder of Niceville, Fla., are all tied for fifth place with 235 targets.
In Women’s Skeet, Kim Rhode of El Monte, Calif., is in first place with a score of 238 targets. A three-time Olympic medalist in Women’s Double Trap, Rhode made the switch to skeet following the 2004 Olympic Games after the Women’s Double Trap event was eliminated from Olympic competition. Two-time Olympian Connie Smotek of Bryan, Texas, and 2007 World Cup Santo Domingo and Pan-American Games Gold Medalist Haley Dunn of Eddyville, Iowa, are right behind Rhode in second and third place with 236 and 234 targets respectively. Shari Legate of Peyton, Colo., is currently holding the fourth spot with 226 targets, while Laura Kolb of College Station, Texas, is in fifth place with 222 and 2007 Junior World Clay Target Champion Emily Blount of Tucson, Ariz., and Ali Chiang of Redwood City, Calif., are tied for sixth place with 219. For current Olympic Shotgun Team standings, see www.usashooting.org.