Olympian and 2010 World Champion Josh Richmond claimed the Double Trap title at the USA Shooting National Championships for Shotgun in a shoot off win over two-day leader and U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit teammate Jeff Holguin (Yorba Linda, Calif.).
But after struggling with a new gun setup and ISSF rule changes in the discipline over his last few matches, Richmond decided to try something…old.
“I actually switched to a new gun earlier in the spring time for a selection match and I decided to go back to my old gun and some of my old style of shooting which came through here today for me so I feel like I’m back on top of things a little bit,” he said.
“There’s still a lot of work I want to do, mostly on my mental game. Just start to make it more natural and just no more surprises out there. I had a few targets today that surprised me. We’re memorizing some of our pairs out here throughout the round and that’s another thing that kind of plays havoc with your mental game because you’re trying to go subconscious and then having to memorize something is definitely a conscious thought…I think my fundamentals and my hands and my eyes are working real well, I’m pointing the gun as good as I ever have before.”
This year’s National Championships also experienced a change as they follow the new International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) finals with one slight modification: The six finalists entered a semifinal carrying over their qualification score. A 15-shot semifinal was then conducted with that score plus the qualifying score figuring into an overall total to determine shooters for both the gold/silver medal and the bronze-medal matches.
Richmond had been trailing each day of the two sets of qualifying rounds with 142 each day of 150 behind Holguin who led each day with 146 Tuesday and 147 today.
After the semifinals, Holguin once again led with a perfect 30 shots over second-place Richmond who hit 28. The pair tied their gold-medal match with 28, but Richmond then won the shoot off, 2-1.
” I’ve kind of struggled, somewhat, switching over to this new doubles trap game, so it feels really good to be working so hard at something and training and finally have it pay off in a match like this,” he said. “I will say that again with the way that this finals system is it’s a little bit of a bittersweet victory in itself. My teammate Jeff Holguin had a remarkable two days of shooting with a 146 and 147, and then unfortunately misses a couple extra ones in the final to take him out of it and give me the chance to win. Did I win by the new rules? Yes. Did I deserve it today? Maybe, maybe not.”
Richmond will not be competing in the World Clay Target Championships in Lima, Peru in September as he missed qualifying by one position by finishing fourth at this year’s Spring Selection. He does, however, plan on training and preparing “his guys” – fellow USAMU teammates Holguin, Glenn Eller (Houston, Texas) and Derek Haldeman (Subury, Ohio) to do well and ultimately prepare himself for the World Cup Finals in the United Arab Emirates later this fall.
“I do get another overseas chance at a World Cup Final medal and I’m looking forward to competing over there for that one,” Richmond said.
The bronze-medal match was won by 19-year-old Ian Rupert (Muncy, Pa.) who won his first World Cup medal (bronze) at the ISSF World Cup in Acapulco, Mexico in March. He defeated four-time Olympian Eller in the match by hitting all 30 targets to Eller’s 28.
“I guess I just really performed when I needed to!” a modest Rupert said. “I’ve been training a lot and with Nationals and it has been really beneficial that we get to train on these fields every day so I guess we get a little advantage over everyone else.”
On the junior side, last year’s National Champion Billy Crawford (Johnstown, Ohio) claimed the gold medal over National Junior Olympic Shooting Championships winner T.J. Bayer (College Station, Texas) 27-26 in the gold-medal match. The bronze medal was awarded to Myles Walker (Elkhorn, Wis.) who defeated Christian Wilkoski (Centerburg, Ohio) in that medal round 26-24.
The USA Shooting National Championships for Shotgun continue tomorrow with Skeet open training Thursday, qualification rounds Friday and Saturday and finals to be conducted Sunday.
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