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Rocky Mountain Rifl e


BY KEVIN NEUENDORF MEDIA AND PUBLIC RELATIONS DIRECTOR


McPhail, Christenson, Sowash, Csenge & Marsh Excel at Rocky Mountain Rifl e


The heart of international


rifl e competition was on dis- play over Valentine’s Day weekend with more than 60 participants fi ring shots during the 2015 Rocky Mountain Rifl e Champion- ships. Asserting themselves with podium-topping perfor- mances were Olympic Train- ing Center Resident athletes Dempster Christenson, Amy Sowash, as well as Tom Csenge, Army Marksman- ship Unit (USAMU) standout Michael McPhail and up- and-coming junior prospect Elizabeth Marsh. The annual February


tradition featured fi ve days of rifl e competition in both air and smallbore events that will go a long way to- ward preparing athletes for the upcoming international season. Athletes shot two courses of fi re in each event to determine eight fi nalists with fi nal podium placement based on cumulative scores (2 qualifying rounds+Finals


points). Additionally, two mixed smallbore Super Fi- nals were contested in Prone and Standing. McPhail (USAMU/Dar-


lington, Wisconsin), a 2012 Olympian, earned top hon- ors in the Prone event by winning both qualifi cation matches and fi nishing sec- ond in the fi nal. His adver- saries included international star Sergei Martynov of Be- larus, the reigning Olympic Champion, who also has two Olympic bronze medals and two World Championship ti- tles on his impressive career resume. Martynov would win the Final, but fi nish 9.1 points back of McPhail over- all to earn a silver medal. Two-time Olympian Eric Up- tagrafft (USAMU/Phenix City, Alabama) would fi nish third. McPhail would also come from behind to earn the top prize in the Prone Super Final as well. Christenson (Sioux Falls, South Dakota) climbed to


the top of the podium in Men’s Air Rifl e, edging sec- ond-place fi nisher Bruno Heck (BRA) by .4 points. Bry- ant Wallizer (Little Orleans, Marlyand) fi nished third. Christenson would also claim bronze in the Three- Position Rifl e event as well. Csenge


sopple (Wilcox, Pennsylva- nia) behind a strong Finals performance. Amanda Fur- rer (Spokane, Washington), a 2012 Olympian, fi nished third. Furrer did win the Standing Super Final event. Marsh wasn’t the only


(Colorado


Springs, Colorado) accumu- lated the highest qualifi ca- tion scores in the Three- Position event and fi nished fourth in the Final to earn the top award. Daniel Lowe (US- AMU/Olympia, Washington) would win the fi nal but have to settle for second-place, falling two points short of Csenge’s cumulative score. Sowash (Richmond, Ken-


tucky) was victorious in the Women’s Air Rifl e event, defeating Sarah Beard (Dan- ville, Indiana) by 2.5 points overall. Seiko Iwata of Ja- pan was third. Junior shooter Marsh


(Searcy, Arkansas) was on her game throughout the match as showcased by her gold-medal run in Three- Position Rifl e, fourth-place fi nish in Air and fi rst-place honors in Junior Air. The 16-year-old, who is currently being coached by three-time Olympic medalist Matt Em- mons, defeated Emily Hol-


(Left to right): Men’s Three-Position Rifl e medalists Dan Lowe, Tom Csenge and Dempster Christenson.


junior standout during the match. William Shaner (Silt, Colorado) broke the National Junior Record in Air Rifl e in one of the Qualifying match- es, which propelled him to the overall junior title. His qualifying scores in Air also earned him a spot in the Open Men’s Final as well. The 13-year-old Shaner is among a group of Colorado Springs teenagers, including Will Anti, whose record he broke, that has gone about competing with the nation’s best in international rifl e and pistol for the better part of the last year. Also, junior Jacob Buchanan (Spring, Texas), 17, showed surpris- ing strength in Prone as well as Three-Position where he fi nished fi fth overall. Paralympic competition


was also included in the match with a four-person British contingent, led by two-time Paralympic med- alist Matt Skelhon earning most of the hardware. Jaz- min Almlie-Ryan (Houston, Texas) took gold in both the R4 Standing Air and R5 Prone Air events.


March 2015 | USA Shooting News


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