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Rifl e Update

Emerging Athletes Showcase Their Talents; Look to Challenge for Spots in 2016

The 2013 World Cup season

started auspiciously with a silver medal at Changwon, Korea, by veteran Michael McPhail (Darling- ton, Wis.) of the US Army Marks- manship Unit. McPhail qualifi ed for the fi nal with a 619.4 in the Prone Rifl e event and fi nished with a 207.4 in the new start from zero fi nals. Eric Uptagrafft (Phenix City, Ala./USAMU) just missed the fi nals in the same event fi nishing ninth. The season continued at the

World Cup in Fort Benning, Ga. in May with another silver medal in 10m Air Rifl e by relative newcom- er Dempster Christenson (Sioux Falls, S.D.), a resident athlete at the Olympic Training Center. With a 622.8 in the qualifi cation and a 206.4 in the fi nal, Christenson calmly made high scoring shots after a slow start moving his way up the leaderboard. We had some very fi ne per-

formances at the World Cup in Granada, Spain, from four-time Olympian Jason Parker (Omaha,

Neb./USAMU) and 2012 Olym- pian Sarah Scherer (Woburn, Mass.). Both fi nished just out- side the fi nals in their respective smallbore events with Scherer also fi nishing sixth in 10m Air Rifl e. Future star Connor Davis (Shelbyville, Ky.) was also im- pressive with the second-highest qualifi cation score, but fi nished eighth in his 10m Air Rifl e event. The focus this year was to en-

gage the younger team members. With Jamie Beyerle Gray (Lebanon, Pa.) and Matt Emmons (Browns Mills, N.J.) taking time away from the sport this year, younger and emerging athletes were offered a great opportunity to showcase their skills and gain valuable ex- perience on the world stage. Going forward toward the

World Shooting Championships and beyond to the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Bra- zil, we will begin to focus our efforts and resources more di- rectly on our best shooters. As is always the case, we will have

younger shooters challenge the old guard, and as they emerge (as I believe some of them will), we will continue supporting their progression to becoming world- class athletes. The new fi nals format puts

different demands on our ath- letes than the previous system. We have developed and tested several new methods for train- ing these fi nals skills and after a little more testing and work, we will be exporting this to our CTCs and clubs so they can train these skills at the local level. We recognize the critical im-

portance of our partners, our clubs, the NCAA teams, and the contributions they make. Clubs and high school teams are the introductory trainers of our young athletes. Those athletes who ex- cel at their club level often be- come collegiate athletes and the best of those earn spots on the National, Development or Junior Teams. Many of our very best coach- es are leading NCAA programs. One of our initia- tives this year was to engage the best of those as assistant National Team Coaches. While we can-


not utilize everyone interested, I think it has been successful so far with our fi rst efforts. Regardless of the level, club,

NCAA and even the National Team, the best way to maximize coaches’ contributions to the en- tire program is to give them as much education as possible. The NRA/USA Shooting/CMP Coach Education Program is a great place to start, but beyond those courses, any type of coaching knowledge and experience is valuable. It is no longer enough to just know how to shoot a rifl e. To be the best, to help the ath- letes achieve their very best, the coach needs to embark on a life- long learning process. The results will be rewarding for everyone. Junior Olympics and National Championships brought several new juniors to the forefront. Sev- eral of them participated in a training camp before the Winter Airgun match in early December. Gaining and reinforcing valuable skills they will need to keep im- proving. We are looking forward to seeing who can emerge in 2014 and beyond.

Connor Davis shot the second- highest qualifi cation score in 10m Air Rifl e at Granada World Cup.

Photo by: Marco Dalla Dea/ISSF

Year in Review 2013 | USA Shooting News


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