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Welcome from National Junior Team member Alex Rennert Welcome everyone to the Year

in Review! I want to start off with a huge thank you to all of the sponsors, volunteers, parents, athletes and staff that make up USA Shooting. It has been an im- mensely successful year for Team USA. The help and support from all of you has been imperative to everyone’s success! As the fi rst year of the qua-

drennial began, many had thoughts of what was to come next. What would our return- ing Olympians do? Would Kim Rhode and Vincent Hancock go for Gold again? Would Glenn Eller and Josh Richmond come back from a rough Olympics and continue the domination that they a r e

known for? The answers to all seem to be YES! So much has happened so

fast for me this year. From being promoted to manager of Gator Skeet and Trap, the only Certi- fi ed Training Center in Florida, to coaching and competing for the University of Florida’s Shotgun Team, to making the National Ju- nior Team, to fi nishing the year with my most signifi cant victory of my shooting career - all while attempting to earn an Aerospace Engineering degree. This year has been one hurricane of a ride. Having just gotten into the

discipline of International Trap after eight years competing in American Trap, I decided it was time to change guns. In December of 2012, I made the move from my trusty Beretta 391 Gold Teknys Trap to a Beretta 682 Gold Trap. It was a huge transition moving to the over-under, but a necessary move nonetheless. By March, I was compet- ing in the Spring Selec- tion Match at the home

of the Army Marksman- ship Unit at Fort Benning. It was there where I would fall short in the last day of com-

petition. This loss fueled the fi re, my

desire, a desire that burns within so many of my U.S. teammates, and couldn’t have been stron- ger. This burning desire pushed me to train harder than ever. It wouldn’t be until the National Junior Olympics that I would fi - nally make it to the podium with a second place fi nish, earning my spot on the National Junior Team. I was now in the company of competitors like T.J. Bayer (Col- lege Station, Texas), Ashley Carroll (Solvang, Calf.), and Miranda Wilder (Diana, Texas), who have made a name for themselves and expanded the envelope of what a “Junior” shooter could do. I backed up this performance with another second place junior fi nish at the National Champion- ships.

Nipping at the heels of the

best shooters in the country, I wanted nothing more than to see myself in the Open fi nal. My training partner, teammate and friend Tyler Froeba (Jacksonville, Fla.) and I began to train heavily in the new ISSF fi nals format. My last chance of the year

would be Fall Selection at Tucson Trap and Skeet Club. This would be the fi rst bunker competition where my dad would be pres- ent. It would be there, where I would make the Open fi nal! The new ISSF fi nal format has been both friend and foe to many of our teammates this year. It has greatly benefi ted me on more than one occasion, where my qualifi cation score was not the highest in the fi nal. After two misses and out shoot-offs, I would be able to climb atop the podium, surrounded by truly the best athletes the sport has ever seen.

4 USA Shooting News | Year in Review 2013 It was an honor to stand

on the shoot-off line with Brian Burrows (Fallbrook, Calif.), Ryan Hadden (Pendleton, Ore.), Jake Wallace (Castiac, Calif.), Anthony Matarese (Pennsville, N.J.), and Seth Inman (Independence, Mo.) - Guys I’ve looked up to since I was introduced to the sport. A special thanks to my good

friend and Army Marksmanship Unit Shooter, Shane Herman. Your inspirational words throughout the competition and in between the semifi nal and fi nal in Tucson helped me to fi nd the right place mentally and get through what I would consider the most grueling shoot-offs of my life. Competing with team “Swamp

Donkeys” comprised of Burrows and Austin Odom (Benton, Ark.) in Tucson and welcoming the Uni- versity of Florida’s newest team- mate, Dania Vizzi (Odessa, Fla.), were just a couple of my fond memories of 2013. Thank you to Michael Higgins,

Melinda Branchini, the board members and advisory com- mittee of the Higgins Branchini Shooting Foundation for their continued support. I feel blessed to have their support and to have my UF and Team USA team- mates, friends and family by my side! It is a tremendous honor to

be able to wear my team jacket with pride. Team USA had some remarkable performances this last year. The team is stronger than ever, and I can’t wait to see what the next few years leading up to Rio unveil. With our eyes set on Rio, 2016 is just a few blinks away. Before we know it, the Trials will be upon us and I couldn’t be more excited to see what Team USA can do!

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