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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Top air rifle and air pistol 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 (Airgun) Feb. 29 to March 3, which will be conducted at the U.S. Olympic Shooting Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. The U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Shooting is a collaborative partnership between the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Shooting, the national governing body for Olympic shooting sports in the United States.

“We are approaching the most exciting time of the quad with Olympic Trials followed by the Games themselves,” said USA Shooting Executive Director Bob Mitchell. “This is truly the time when shooter athletes experience the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. It is the time when all associated with the Olympic Movement realize satisfaction from their work.”

There are a total of five slots available for air rifle and air pistol on the U.S. Olympic team. There are two slots for Men’s Air Rifle and one slot each for Women’s Air Rifle, Men’s Air Pistol and Women’s Air Pistol.

Competing for a spot on the Olympic Team in Men’s Air Rifle will be 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist Matthew Emmons of Browns Mills, N.J., who has already secured two spots on the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team in Men’s Prone Rifle and Men’s Three Position Rifle. Emmons will be vying for his third berth to the U.S. Olympic Team and is looking to bring home three medals from Beijing, China, in August.

Also competing for an Olympic team slot in air rifle will be two-time Olympian Sgt. 1st Class Jason A. Parker of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit and 2007 Pan-American Games Gold Medalist. Matthew Rawlings of Wharton, Texas, the 2007 Pan-Am Silver Medalist, along with 2005 Munich World Cup Gold Medalist Ryan Tanoue of Honolulu, Hawaii, are also top contenders looking to make the Olympic Team in Men’s Air Rifle.

Emily Caruso of Fairfield, Conn., a 2004 Olympian, is looking to snag a berth to the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team in Women’s Air Rifle. Jamie Beyerle of Lebanon, Pa., the 2007 World Cup USA Bronze Medalist in Air Rifle, is also a top prospect to make the Olympic Team, along with up and comer Amy Sowash of Richmond, Ky., who made great strides nationally in Women’s Air Rifle in 2007.

In Men’s Air Pistol, two-time Olympian Sgt. 1st Class Daryl L. Szarenski of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit will be competing for a spot on his third consecutive Olympic Team. Szarenski has tough competition with 2004 Olympian Jason Turner of Rochester, N.Y., also in the hunt for a berth to the 2008 Olympic Team. Turner is the reigning Pan-American Games Gold Medalist in Men’s Air Pistol. Brian Beaman of Selby, S.D., is an up and coming pistol shooter who has recently had a very strong showing in the national rankings. Five-time Olympian John McNally of Heath, Texas, will also be competing at the Olympic Airgun Trials, looking to land a spot on his sixth Olympic Team.

Three-time Olympians U.S. Army Reserve Staff Sgt. Elizabeth Callahan and Rebecca Snyder of Grand Junction, Colo., will both be vying for a position on the 2008 Olympic Team in Women’s Air Pistol. U.S. Navy Reserve Petty Officer 2nd Class Sandra Uptagrafft will also be a top contender to make the Olympic Team in Women’s Air Pistol.

Airgun athletes will be selected to the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team on the final day of competition by a combination of the match scores from all three days of competition, plus each athlete’s top two finals scores.

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