FORT BENNING, Ga. (June 18, 2014) – Two Shotgun shooters from the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit took home medals in Double Trap at the International Shooting Sports Federation Munich World Cup, in Munich, June 9.
Staff Sgt. Glenn Eller and Staff Sgt. Jeff Holguin claimed the silver and bronze medals, respectively, continuing an impressive run by U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit, or USAMU, Soldiers in the discipline.
USAMU Soldiers have claimed five out of nine possible medals on the World Cup circuit this year. In addition to the two medals won in Munich, their teammate Staff Sgt. Josh Richmond has earned two silver medals in 2014, and Holguin won the gold medal in April in Tucson, Ariz.
“Without looking at the records, I am 99.9 percent sure that we have never started a year off this strong,” Holguin said, a native of Fullerton, Calif.
New rules adopted in the sport after the London Olympics challenged everyone associated with Double Trap, Holguin said. Competitors used to know exactly how the targets would come out of the house, but through the new rules, target combinations are now presented in a random order. Shooters have to be extremely focused to remember what targets have yet to come, according to Holguin.
“(We) have been pounding some rounds since the inception of the current rules last year,” he said “We are more pure gun pointers than many of the other Double Trap shooters worldwide. This has helped us adjust to the new rules faster.”
Holguin shot a 147 (out of 150) in the qualification round while Eller fired a 146, to make the last spot in the six-man final. Eller fired a 29 (out of 30) in the semi-finals to earn a spot in the gold medal match against Slovakia’s Hubert Olejnik. Holguin shot a 28, then hit 18 consecutive targets in a shoot-off against Russia’s Vasily Mosin to make the bronze medal match.
Eller, from Katy, Texas, and Olejnik went shot-for-shot for gold until Eller missed a bird in the next-to-last round, resulting in the silver medal. Holguin defeated Great Britain’s Tim Kneale for the bronze.
The Soldiers have one more World Cup match before the World Championships in September, where Olympic quota slots will be on the line for the first time leading up to the Rio Games, in 2016. As the reigning world champion, Eller said it’s important to treat it as any other big match and get mentally ready for the day. USAMU Soldiers compete worldwide to demonstrate the U.S. Army’s prowess and associate the Army and nation with excellence.
“We have several events to get ready for the world championship,” Eller said. “We have a good training plan and its working.”