She’ll have a five-target advantage when the Olympic Trials resume next May
|Something unusual happened at Tucson Trap and Skeet Club on the final day of the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, Part One. Something not all that unusual happened as well.
Participants arriving at the club just outside Tucson, Arizona Saturday morning found the skeet fields almost fully submerged in water after a fierce thunderstorm blasted the southwestern desert city overnight. Club members could only remember one other time in 23 years in which rain fell like that as club, USA Shooting staff and attendees combined forces to remove water so that the final day could get underway.
Once it did, it was five-time Olympic medalist Kim Rhode(El Monte, California) giving us the not-so-unusual as she did enough over 250 targets and two finals to ensure she’ll have a five-target advantage when the Olympic Trials resume next May in Tillar, Arkansas. Just how big of an advantage is that? Well, there’s a bigger gap in Women’s Skeet than all other disciplines combined (4).
That won’t mean that Rhode will rest easy as she eyes a sixth Olympic Team bid, but it does give her some satisfaction after a trying 2015.
“It’s obviously nice to walk away with a nice little cushion and I couldn’t be happier with my performance here,” said Rhode. “There’s been a lot of stuff going on with me health wise and extracurricular distractions personally this year, so it was nice to actually get here and feel halfway decent and be able to put the scores together with all the hard work and things we’ve been going through. It’s a fantastic outcome to see everything that we’ve been working for and plugging away at come together. It’s just been one of those years, but that’s what definitely tests your ability. That’s what the Olympics represent.”
Rhode built her lead by out-shooting her opponents by three targets during 250 qualifying targets over four days with a 237/250. She finished first in the first Final Thursday and then earned a bronze medal in today’s Final.
Amber English (Colorado Springs, Colorado) is within striking distance down by five after hitting 233/250 and finishing second and third in each of the two finals to put herself into second place.
“Wow, what a match,” English said. “The one thing women’s skeet has is depth, and I’m happy to shoot against some of the toughest girls domestically and internationally. By all means, I wasn’t all that happy with my performance, but it was enough for the time being. After the match, I know exactly what I need to work on before May.”
Nine back of Rhode is 16-year-old Katie Jacob (Rochester, Michigan) who announced her presence among a talented field with a terrific performance throughout the week that included appearances in both finals. Dania Vizzi (Odessa, Florida) is in fourth position, 12 targets out. Caitlin Connor (Winnfield, Louisiana), who finished second at World Championships in a shoot-off to Rio bound Olympian Morgan Craft(Muncy Valley, Pennsylvania), struggled to put it together during her rounds in Tucson, but earned some positivity and showed her grit by getting into today’s Final and finishing with a first-place finish. Despite that, she’s 16 targets back after nearly making the Olympic Team via the points system. Had she beaten Craft in Lonato, she would have been the one claiming the first Olympic Team spot.
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