August 18, 2009

History Made in 2009 National Trophy Infantry Team Match

CAMP PERRY -- If you were trying to predict the winner of the 2009 National Trophy Infantry Team Match (NTIT), odds are your discussion centered around the top military teams in the event. This makes sense; especially considering that the last time a civilian team won the NTIT was in 1930. That is until a group of juniors from California stepped up to the firing line at Camp Perry on 7 August and made history.

California Grizzlies O’Connell shot a 1284 to win the NTIT, becoming the first junior team to ever win the event and the first civilian team to win in 79 years. In fact the top three teams in the NTIT were civilian, in what became a very historic and bizarre day at Camp Perry.

Forbes Rifle and Pistol Club finished second with a 1275 and Oklahoma Rifle Association finished third with a 1250. USAMU Praslick, who won the National Trophy Team Match (NTT) the day before, finished in a distant forth with a 1211, and was only one of two military teams to even make the top 10 in the NTIT.

2009 National Trophy Infantry Match


The California Grizzlies O'Connell celebrate as they are named the 2009 National Trophy Infantry Match winners at Camp Perry. The team shot a 1284 to win the match and make history as the first junior team to event claim the trophy.

The California Grizzlies O’Connell team was named for team coach Jim O’Connell. The team captain was Anthony Henderson, and firing team members were Cheyanne Acebo, David Bahten, Matthew Chezem, Chad Kurgan, Joshua Lehn and Jim Minturn. The team is based out of the Yosemite area in central California, but team members come from all over the state.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.– 2008 Olympic gold medalist Vincent Hancock (Eatonton, Ga.) won his second World Championship title in the Men’s Skeet event at the 2009 ISSF Shotgun World Championships in Maribor, Slovenia.

Hancock, Shawn Dulohery and Frank Thompson also took home the gold in the team competition and set a new world record, while the junior men’s team of BJ Blanchard, Jon Michael McGrath and Chris Haver grabbed the silver.

Exactly one year after winning the Olympic gold in Beijing, U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit shooter Hancock fired a near-perfect score, missing one target in the qualification for a 124/125 total, and then shooting a perfect 25 in the final to finish with 149 out of 150 targets.

Reigning World Champion George Achilleos of Cyprus and Italy’s Ennio Falco, the 1996 Olympic gold medalist, also both shot a perfect score of 25 targets in the final, ending in the second and third spots with 148 and 147 targets respectively.

Hancock, Dulohery and Thompson shot their way to a gold medal in the team event, hitting 366 out of 375 targets, setting a new World Record that broke the previous 365 target record set by the Italian team at the 2006 ISSF World Shooting Championships in Zagreb. The team from Finland took the silver with 361 targets and Denmark earned the bronze, also with 361 targets.

Blanchard (Vidor, Texas), McGrath (Tulsa, Okla.) and Haver (Clinton, Mich.) captured the silver in the Junior Men’s Skeet team competition after shooting a combined score of 349 targets. The Czech Republic team won the gold with 353 total hits and the team from Sweden took home the bronze with 348 hits.

Blanchard, who is the reigning World Championship bronze medalist in the Junior Men’s Skeet event, finished the highest individually for the U.S. Junior Skeet Men today firing 119 targets and ending up in fifth place.

Approximately 600 shooters from 70 countries competed at the 2009 ISSF Shotgun World Championships August 7-16. Thirty shooters, including 15 juniors, represented the U.S. in Maribor, taking home a total of 10 medals (three individual, seven team).











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