Only one athlete not in the lead coming into part two of these U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Shotgun earned a ticket to the 2016 Olympic Games and her name isCorey Cogdell-Unrein.
The 2008 Olympic bronze medalist is now headed to her third consecutive Olympic Games in Women’s Trap. She earned her spot Wednesday at the Delta Resort & Spa just outside Tillar, Arkansas.
Down two targets coming into the match, Cogdell-Unrein (Eagle River, Alaska) put on such a dominating performance in qualifying she ruled the last day’s Final inconsequential. That was exactly her intent all along.
In 2015, she had almost ruled out the possibility of even having to compete in Olympic Team Trials, with an international performance good enough to get her on the Olympic Team under USA Shooting’s Olympic Points System with two medals and one other Finals appearance. That chance was removed given that the U.S. did not earn a second quota in Women’s Trap. Thus, setting up the dramatic showdown for one spot.
Janessa Beaman (Colorado Springs, Colorado) came into the match with a two-point advantage. Halfway through, that had turned into two-point advantage for Cogdell-Unrein and it provided her just the confidence she’d need to run away from her competitors with a dominating performance in the second half of this match. Her first qualifying round of 125 targets, she shot a 116. Over the second half, she missed just three targets including a 50-straight to close things out before the Final. Her last 125 was 11 better than Ashley Carroll (Solvang, California) and 13 better than Beaman. Carroll would finish second overall, 15 targets back while Beaman wound up third, 17 targets back.
“It’s such an incredible feeling,” said the 29-year-old Cogdell-Unrein. “This is something I’ve been working the last four years for. There’s been a lot of ups and downs along the way and I changed my shooting style since London, so it’s really exciting to see all that hard work pay off. It was a battle physically and mentally.”
All seven Olympic Team spots in Shotgun have now all been determined and it has a similar look to London 2012 with the only new addition being 2015 World Champion Morgan Craft (Muncy Valley, Pennsylvania). All told, there’s nine Olympic medals among the group. Craft,Vincent Hancock (Eatonton, Georgia) and Glenn Eller (U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit/Houston, Texas) all earned their spots through USA Shooting’s Points System for Olympic Selection. Josh Richmond (U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit/Hillgrove, Pennsylvania), Kim Rhode (El Monte, California), Frank Thompson (Alliance, Nebraska) and now, Cogdell-Unrein, all earned their spots through the U.S. Olympic Team Trials.
There’s Olympic superlatives looking to be achieved throughout the lineup with Rhode looking to become just the second person ever in Olympic history to earn six consecutive Olympic medals. Should he win gold again in Rio, Hancock would become the first shooter ever and just the sixth American to win three consecutive Olympic gold medals in the same individual event. Eller already heads to Rio as the first American male in the shotgun discipline to make five Olympic Teams.
“I think we’ve got a great team. I really like their makeup and each of them have something to really strive for whether that’s earning more medals or getting their first and helping this team reach new heights like we have all quad,” said National Team Coach Todd Graves.
As for the caliber of talent and depth he witnessed once again during the eight-day Olympic Trials match, he couldn’t be more optimistic about what the future could hold for the USA Shooting Team. “I’m the happiest man in the world right now,” he said. “We’re so deep in every discipline and even though we didn’t earn a men’s trap quota, we’re still a lot farther along than we have been with guys making finals now. I’m looking forward to seeing that talent rise up during the next quad.”
All seven Olympic Team athletes start heading out Sunday for an International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup in San Marino, Italy.
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