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NEWS | Aug. 6, 2019

Soldiers help Team USA secure medals & Olympic quotas at Pan American Games

By Maj. Michelle Lunato Army Marksmanship Unit

The 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru concluded for Team USA Shooting on August 3 with an impressive medal count and historic Olympic quota win, and U.S. Army Soldiers helped earn that mission success.

Nine Soldiers from the U.S. Army and U.S. Army Reserve were part of the Shooting Team for Team USA. In total, Team USA claimed 10 Gold Medals, 8 Silver Medals, 2 Bronze Medals and 7 Olympic Quotas. Of those, Soldiers contributed to 5 of the Gold, 6 of the Silver and 3 of the quotas. 

The Soldiers are from the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit, the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program and the U.S. Army Reserve. They competed in a number of events, both individual and team. 

Below is a list of the specific Soldiers, their military affiliation and the event/status at the Pan American Games:

• Spc. Rachel Tozier, a Pattonsburg, Missouri native with the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit, won a Silver Medal in Women's Trap and another Silver Medal (with Brian Burrows) in the Mixed Trap Team event.

• Staff Sgt. Derek Haldeman, a Sunbury, Ohio native with the USAMU, won a Silver Medal in Men's Trap and one of the two Olympic Quotas, something the United States has not been able to earn since 2008. Haldeman then joined up with Ashley Carroll to win the Gold Medal in the Mixed Trap Team event.

• Spc. Tim Sherry, a Highlands Ranch, Colorado native with the USAMU, won the Gold Medal in Men's Three-Position Rifle. Sherry also competed in Men’s 10m Air Rifle where he placed fifth. In the Mixed Air Rifle Team event (with Alison Weisz) he finished just off the podium in fourth. 

• Sgt. 1st Class Michael McPhail, a Darlington, Wisconsin native with the USAMU, won the Silver Medal in Men's Three-Position Rifle.

• Sgt. Christian Elliott, a Greenwood, Indiana native with the USAMU, won the Gold Medal in Men's Skeet.

• Spc. Phillip Jungman, a Caldwell, Texas native, with the USAMU finished just off the Men’s Skeet podium in fourth place. 

• U.S. Army Reserve 1st Lt. Sarah Beard, a Danville, Indiana native, with U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program- WCAP /USAMU won a Gold Medal in Women's Three-Position Rifle. (Beard’s father, 1984 Olympian, Maj. William Beard also trained at the USAMU.)

• U.S. Army Reserve Staff Sgt. Sandra Uptagrafft, a Phenix City, Alabama native with the 98th Training Division/108th Training Command, won the Gold Medal and Olympic Quota in Women's Sport Pistol.

• U.S. Army Reserve Sgt. Nick Mowrer, a Butte, Montana native, with WCAP won a Silver Medal/Olympic Quota in Men's Air Pistol and a Silver Medal in the Mixed Air Pistol event with Miglena Todorova.

(All Soldiers above, except Mowrer, train at the USAMU on US Army Fort Benning.)

For all the details on the Games and more on the rest of the Team USA, read the press release below that came from USA Shooting. It is shared here with their permission. 

Below is USA Shooting Press Release, by Kevin Neuendorf

The 2020 vision USA Shooting is seeking was set in motion with an ultra-successful 2019 Pan American Games as shooting competition concluded Saturday in Lima, Peru. But, not before Team USA earned another three medals and an additional Olympic quota. 

The week-long competition provided plenty of podium moments for the Team that has the organizational goal to #RaiseTheFlag ahead of Tokyo 2020. The U.S. flag was raised 20 times in Lima by members of the U.S. Shooting Team with 10 gold medals, eight silver medals and two bronze medals. The U.S. finished first and second in five events.

Seeking 10 Olympic Quotas, this Team earned seven just missing out on opportunities in Women’s Air Pistol (2) and Men’s Rapid Fire Pistol (1). Despite that, some big goals were achieved, none more important than the two Olympic quotas earned by gold medalist Brian Burrows (Fallbrook, California) and silver medalist Derek Haldeman (U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit/Sunbury, Ohio) in Men’s Trap. They’re ultimate triumph brought to an end a streak that had seen no U.S. competitor at the Olympic Games in this event since the 2008 Olympic Games.

U.S. Shotgun and Rifle Teams have secured all available Quotas for Tokyo 2020 as the Pan Am Games conclude and just one additional competition to earn those Quotas remains. The U.S. Pistol Team will be seeking to fulfill those Quota opportunities coming at the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 26-September 3.

Quotas earned by Team USA in Lima includes:

Ginny Thrasher (Springfield, Virginia) – Three-Position Rifle
Nick Mowrer (Butte, Montana) – Air Pistol
Sandra Uptagrafft (Phenix City, Alabama) – Sport Pistol
Brian Burrows (Fallbrook, California) & Derek Haldeman (Sunbury, Ohio) – Men’s Trap
Ali Weisz (Belgrade, Montana) – Air Rifle
Lucas Kozeniesky (Fairfax, Virginia) – Air Rifle
Big winner today was Sandra Uptagrafft (Phenix City, Alabama), who many on social media were hailing as the Quota Queen, and rightfully so, after she won gold and earned the Olympic ticket in Women’s Sport Pistol. That’s the third-straight Pan American Games that Uptagrafft has earned a Quota for her country. Uptagrafft qualified fifth and then had to weather two shoot-offs against Ecuador’s Diana Durango to earn the gold. Nathalia Tobar (East Northport, New York) made the Final and finished eighth.

Also, picking up their second medals of the Pan Am Games were the Air Rifle Mixed Team of Lucas Kozeniesky (Fairfax, Virginia) and Mindy Miles (Weatherford, Texas). After a big day Friday in which he won gold and earned the Quota in Air Rifle, the 2016 Olympian Kozeniesky was back on the line to help shoot for another medal with Miles, who had earned the silver medal in Air Rifle on Thursday behind Ali Weisz (Belgrade, Montana). The duo would qualify first but then settle for the silver medal to the team from Argentina. Gold medalist Weisz and Tim Sherry (USAMU/Highlands Ranch, Colorado) qualified second and would fall to fourth in the Final.

In Men’s Skeet, U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) soldier-athlete Christian Elliott (Greenville, Indiana) earned the gold medal to complete the gold-medal sweep for Team USA in Shotgun, with gold medals in all five events and seven medals in all. After shooting 122/125 and the bib-order shoot-off, Elliott would qualify second. He’d go on to defeat Guatemala’s Juan Schaeffer by two targets in the Final. His USAMU teammate Phillip Jungman (Caldwell, Texas) joined Elliott in the Final, qualifying fifth after a score of 122 and the bib-order shoot-off. He’d finish just off the medal stand in fourth.


The U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit is a unit at Fort Benning, Georgia that wins national and international shooting competitions, supports Army accessions, and advances small arms lethality to demonstrate Army marksmanship capability, enhance recruiting and increase marksmanship effectiveness in combat. USAMU is part of the U.S. Army Marketing Engagement Brigade and the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command.