After nearly two weeks of ever-changing weather in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the USA Shooting Shotgun Nationals have come to a close.
The first finals of the event took place following the first 200 targets on Tuesday, October 2nd. For the first time ever, USA Shooting selected a Senior’s team which saw Bill Hoffman (CO), Scott Miller (NV), Olympic Bronze Medalist Todd Graves (GA), Tommy Browning (AR), David Senter (OR), and Steve Loschen (NE) meet in the Senior Finals. In windy conditions, Loschen would go on to shoot a 42 in finals to take the Gold by 1 target over Senter. Browning would take the Bronze.
While the Senior Final was taking place on the Federal Finals Field, the International shooters were having their final on the White Flyer Field 3. It was a battle between the Canadians of Matthew Van Haaren, David Mosscrop, Colin Grover, and Cynthia Meyer against the Guatemalan duo of Herbert Danilo Brol Cardenas and Jean Pierre Brol Cardenas. The Guatemalans would get the best of the event with current World Record holder Jean Pierre taking home the Gold, Matt Van Haaren taking Silver, and Herbert Danilo earning the Bronze.
On Wednesday October 3rd, four separate finals took place to name the International Trap National Champions. First to take place were the Men’s and Women’s open division finals. Reining National Champion Derek Haldeman (OH, AMU) paid his own way to come defend his title and he made it to the finals in a 4 way tie at 237 with Roe Reynolds (AR), Logan Mountain (CA), and Junior World Championship Silver Medalist Logan Lucas (MI). Joining them would be 2012 and 2013 National Champion Brian Burrows (CA) who missed just 5 targets all competition and last year’s Silver Medalist Caleb Lindsey (TN), who missed only 8 targets. Lindsey would promote last year’s silver to Gold in a tight competition with Reynolds, who would take home the Silver. Burrows earned the Bronze.
The Women’s Open division final saw defending Three-Time National Champion Ashley Carroll (CA) looking to go for 4 in a row against 2014 National Champion Corey Cogdell-Unrein (AK), Six Time Olympic Medalist Kim Rhode (CA), Emma Williams (TN), Aeriel Skinner (CA), and making her finals debut, Rachel Tozier (MO, AMU). Unfortunately for Carroll, a Four-Peat wasn’t in the cards as she would take home the Bronze medal, with Williams earning the Silver and Skinner taking home her first National Championship.
Following the Open division, the Juniors took the stage. Roe Reynolds and Logan Lucas would find themselves in their second final of the day, joined by Dale Royer (MT), Gavin Scott (TX), Grayson Davey (AK), and Hank Garvey (CO). Royer would equal the Finals World Record of 48 to earn his National Title, while Reynolds would take home his second Silver of the day, and Lucas earning Bronze.
The junior ladies saw first time finalists on the National Stage, Victoria Hendrix (AZ) and Bethany High (GA), competing against Ryann Phillips (TX), Heather Broski (TN), Valentina Pauri (TX), and Maddie Bernau (WI). Hendrix shot a personal best in the first 125 targets of the match and continued on to her first National Title, edging Phillips out by 2 targets. Broski ended up taking home Bronze.
Trap Mixed Team
Two days after the individual trap concluded, the Trap Mixed Team finals would take place. This would be the first National Championship in the new Olympic event, and the finals would look like a who’s who of individual trap shooters. Three-time Olympian Lance Bade would team up with Six-time Olympian Kim Rhode for what one can only see as an attempt at World Domination, and as a surprise to absolutely no one, they found themselves in the finals against three-time National Champion Ashley Carroll and World Championship Silver medalist Logan Lucas, World Record Holder Jake Wallace and three-time Olympian Corey Cogdell-Unrein, two-time National Champion Brian Burrows and 2011 National Champion Kayle Browning, five-time Olympian Glenn Eller and 2018 National Champion Aeriel Skinner, and National Development Team members Grayson Davey and Julia Stallings.
During a Super Final, where all 6 teams would shoot all 50 targets with their scores carrying over, Eller and Skinner wouldn’t even need to shoot their last pass to find themselves on top of the podium to become the first US National Champions in trap mixed team. Burrows and Browning ended up taking home the Silver, while Wallace and Cogdell-Unrein would earn the Bronze.
While this author left the day after the conclusion of the Mixed Team event, the skeet shooters were just getting started. Even though I thought the trap shooters had to deal with some strange weather, going from the 40’s one day to the 80’s the next, it was nothing compared to the conditions that the skeeters had to deal with. Through 4 days of driving snow, sleet, rain, and bitter cold temperatures, the skeet shooters proved their mettle.
In the Open Men’s division, the Home of Champions showed just why they have that title with the Army Marksmanship Unit’s Christian Elliott (IN, AMU) coming out on top against his AMU teammate Dustan Taylor (NC, AMU). Zachary McBee (AZ) would take home bronze. Other finalists include Will Thomas (IA), two-time Olympian Frank Thompson (NE), and Elijah Ellis (TX).
The Open Women’s division definitely put on a show for those brave enough to battle the cold. 2017 National Champion Dania Vizzi (FL) would find herself tied with 2017 Bronze Medalist Sam Simonton (GA) at the end of the 60 target final with a score of 57. Vizzi would become a repeat champion following a shoot-off, and World Championship Bronze Medalist Austen Smith (TX) would take home the bronze. Other finalists included Gracin Anderson (TN), Ari Montemayor (TX), and current Women’s World Champion Caitlin Connor (LA).
Junior Men’s finals would see 2018 Junior Olympic Gold Medalist Nic Moschetti (CO) and Silver Medalist Eli Christman (TN) once again as the last two men standing, but this time the tables would turn as Christman would equal the World Record with a score of 58 to take home the Gold and Moschetti taking Silver with a score of 56. The Bronze would go to Alexander Ahlin (SC). Other finalist included 2017 Junior Men’s Silver Medalist Trey Wright (GA), Elijah Ellis (TX), and Joseph Witty (AZ).
Rounding out skeet was the Junior Women’s finals. Victoria Hendrix (AZ), who had just won the Junior Women’s title in Trap found herself in the Skeet finals against Molly DiMaggio (CA), Jasmine Otis (AK), Karsyn Ross (TX), Gracin Anderson (TN), and defending champion Katie Jacob (MI). Jacob would go on to defend her title in the snow by posting a finals score of 50, with Anderson taking Silver and Ross bringing home the Bronze.
And with that, we wrap up the 2018 USA Shooting Shotgun Nationals from Colorado Springs, CO. It was great to see new champions crowned and defending champions successfully defend their titles. The next event for USA Shooting will be the CAT Games in Guadalajara coming up in November.