While America gets set to celebrate this nation's independence Thursday, 48 USA Shooting athletes including 23 shotgun team members are en route to Granada, Spain, in preparation for the International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF) World Cup. Five Olympians headline the U.S. Shotgun Team participating as we preview the shotgun disciplines today followed by rifle/pistol on Wednesday.
The last ISSF World Cup of 2013 will also be the biggest as all shooting disciplines are combined for the first time this year with 1,018 athletes from 78 nations expected to participate. Granada is set to host the 2014 ISSF World Championships next September and this event will help give the participating athletes a preview of things to come next year.
The U.S. Shotgun Team competing in Granada is made up of athletes that finished on the podium during Spring Selection as well as the top-two junior finishers. Nineteen athletes just returned from the Cyprus World Cup as determined by their finish in the Spring Selection Match as well.
Leading the team into Granada is two-time Olympic gold medalist Vincent Hancock (Eatonton, Ga.) who will be looking to maintain his dominant ways by winning a second World Cup gold medal when he shoots July 10-11 in the skeet competition. Hancock recently dropped 250-straight targets in qualifying for the Granada World Cup during USA Shooting's Spring Selection Match in May and previously won the Acapulco World Cup in March to begin his season. He'll be joined by Olympic teammate and friend Frank Thompson (Alliance, Neb.) who is looking to earn the first World Cup medal of his career after a 12th place finish in the Al Ain, UAE, World Cup earlier this year. T.J. Bayer will also to try and carry his hot shooting into Granada after winning two titles at the recent National Junior Olympic Shooting Championships (NJOSC) in Colorado Springs, Colo. Bayer would win both Trap and Double Trap but finished eighth in his signature event after succumbing to the grind of three straight events in addition to an injury he suffered while hiking during the event.
On the women's skeet side, Brandy Drozd (Bryan, Texas) earned top honors during Spring Selection and will lead a talented group of young and hungry clay shooters into action. She'll be joined by Morgan Craft (Muncy Valley, Pa.) along with Spring Selection runner-up Haley Dunn (Muenster, Texas), who finished seventh in Acapulco. Gayla Gregory (College Station, Texas) and Dania Vizzi (Odessa, Fla.) also join the ranks as extra shooters for Team USA and will be looking for valuable World Cup experience. Vizzi recently finished first at the NJOSC event. Women's skeet will be contested July 10.
The seven-day World Cup begins Friday with Women's Trap qualifying and final along with Men's Trap qualifying. Two-time Olympian and 2008 bronze medalist Corey Cogdell (Eagle River, Alaska)was off the gun for a while following her London Olympic run, but is now back and primed for a medal hunt in Granada. She finished second at the Spring Selection Match and was a World Cup winner as recently as last March in Tucson, Ariz., on her way to her second Olympic nomination. Ashley Carroll (Solvang, Calif.) is the hottest thing going in Women's Trap currently having emerged on the scene by winning both Fall and Spring Selection matches along with the 2013 NJOSC title. She finished 10th in Acapulco in March and will look to be among the finalists this time around. Also, competing will be two-time National Champion Rachael Heiden (Clinton, Mich.) who had a sixth-place finish earlier this year in Acapulco.
The U.S. Men's Trap team has broken out in the past six World Cups with a win (Ryan Hadden - Tucson 2012), a runner-up (Brian Burrows - Acapulco 2013) and an eighth-place finish (Jacob Turner - Tucson 2012) that seemingly has the program back on the right track after missing out on Olympic qualification last quad. None of those guys will be competing in Granada, but the quality is every bit as potent with Matt Gossett (Springville, Ala.), John Mullins (Port Orchard, Wash.) and Jake Wallace (Castiac, Calif.) all set to try and earn another medal. Gossett was the Spring Selection champion while Mullins returned to his pre-2008 Olympic run form with a silver medal including a 25-straight in the final. Mullins was one target away from qualifying for the 2008 Olympic Team and has steadily been working his way back up the ranks. The men shoot qualifying rounds on Friday followed by more qualifying and finals on Saturday.
Easily the most experienced group competing for Team USA will be the Double Trap contingent led by 2008 Olympic gold medalist Glenn Eller (USAMU/Houston, Texas) along with 2008 Olympian and fourth-place finisher Jeff Holguin (USAMU/Yorba Linda, Calif.). Joining Holguin and Eller on the line will be fellow Army Marksmanship Unit shooter Derek Haldeman (Sunbury, Ohio). Eller is a four-time Olympian and seems to have the new double trap format figured out after a fifth-place finish in the Al Ain, UAE, World Cup. He set the current World Record with 146 targets before being eliminated in the semifinals.
The ISSF World Cup will take place at the Shooting Range CEAR de Tiro Olimpico Juan Carlos I outside Granada. The Specialized High Performance Center of Olympic Shooting is considered one of the world's best shooting ranges.
On Wednesday, USA Shooting will feature the U.S. Team roster for Rifle and Pistol that includes 11 Olympians.
For more information on the ISSF Granada World Cup and results, click here:
ISSF Granada World Cup - Shotgun Schedule
July 5-6 - Men's & Women's Trap
July 8 - Double Trap
July 10-11 - Men's & Women's Skeet
USA Shooting Team for Shotgun
Trap (9) - July 5 - Women's; July 5-6 - Men's
Matt Gossett (Springville, Ala.)
John Mullins (Port Orchard, Wash.)
#Austin Odom (Benton, Ark.)
Jake Wallace (Castiac, Calif.)
Ashley Carroll (Solvang, Calif.)
Corey Cogdell (Eagle River, Alaska)
#Amber Culwell (Rosebud, Ark.)
Rachael Heiden (Clinton, Mich.)
#Miranda Wilder (Diana, Texas)
Double Trap (5) - July 8
#Billy Crawford (Johnstown, Ohio)
Glenn Eller (USAMU/Houston, Texas)
Derek Haldeman (USAMU/Sunbury, Ohio)
Jeff Holguin (USAMU/Yorba Linda, Calif.)
#Ian Rupert (Muncy, Pa.)
Skeet (9) - July 10 - Women's; July 10-11 - Men's
T.J. Bayer (College Station, Texas)
#Nick Boerboon (Prior Lake, Minn.)
Vincent Hancock (Eatonton, Ga.)
Frank Thompson (Alliance, Neb.)
Morgan Craft (Muncy Valley, Pa.)
Brandy Drozd (Diana, Texas)
Haley Dunn (Muenster, Texas)
#Gayla Gregory (College Station, Texas)
#Dania Vizzi (Odessa, Fla.)
#Athletes competing for MQS only
ISSF Granada World Cup -- Rifle/Pistol Schedule
Saturday, July 6
Men's 10m Air Rifle
Women's 25m Sport Pistol (Precision)
Men's 50m Free Pistol Qualifying
Sunday, July 7
Women's 10m Air Rifle
Women's 25m Sport Pistol (Rapid Fire + Final)
Men's 50m Free Pistol (Qualifying + Final)
Men's Prone Rifle Qualifying
Monday, July 8
Women's 10m Air Pistol
Men's Rapid Fire Pistol (Stage 1)
Men's Prone Rifle (Qualifying + Final)
Women's 50m Three-Position Rifle Qualifying
Tuesday, July 9
Men's Rapid Fire Pistol (Stage 2 + Final)
Women's 50m Three-Position Rifle (Qualifying + Final)
Men's 50m Three-Position Rifle Qualifying
Wednesday, July 10
Men's 10m Air Pistol
Men's 50m Three-Position Rifle (Qualifying + Final)
USA Shooting Rifle/Pistol Roster - Granada World Cup
Dempster Christenson (Sioux Falls, S.D.) - 3P; Air
Connor Davis (Shelbyville, Ky.) - Air
Daniel Lowe (Olympia, Wash.) - 3P (MQS); Prone; Air (MQS)
Michael McPhail (USAMU/Darlington, Wis.) - 3P; Prone (MQS)
Jason Parker (USAMU/Omaha, Neb.) - 3P; Prone
Justin Tracy (Farmington, N.Y.) - Prone
Eric Uptagrafft (USAMU/Phenix City, Ala.) - Prone (MQS)
Bryant Wallizer (Little Orleans, Md.) - 3P (MQS); Air
Sarah Beard (Danville, Ind.) - 3P; Air
Elizabeth Gratz (Sigel, Ill.) - 3P & Air (MQS)
Emily Holsopple (Wilcox, Pa.) - 3P; Air (MQS)
Sarah Scherer (Woburn, Mass.) - 3P; Air
Amy Sowash (Richmond, Ky.) - 3P (MQS); Air
Brad Balsley (Phenix City, Ala.) - Rapid Fire
Brian Beaman (Selby, S.D.) - Free; Air (MQS)
Will Brown (Twin Falls, Idaho) - Free (MQS); Air
Emil Milev (Temple Terrace, Fla.) - Rapid Fire
Keith Sanderson (Kailua, Hawaii) - Rapid Fire
Jay Shi (Phoenix, Ariz.) - Free (MQS); Air
Daryl Szarenski (Seale, Ala.) - Free
Jason Turner (Rochester, N.Y.) - Free; Air
Teresa Meyer-Chambers (Dearborn, Mich.) - Air; Sport
Lydia Paterson (Kansas City, Kan.) - Air
Brenda Silva (Snowflake, Ariz.) - Sport
Sandra Uptagrafft (Phenix City, Ala.) - Air; Sport
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