Marksman Qualifies for Olympics
Sgt. 1st Class Jason A. Parker of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit at Fort Benning, Ga., qualified for the 2008 Olympic Team in Men's Air Rifle.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Army News Service, March 4, 2008) - The five-person 2008 U.S. Olympic Airgun Team was chosen March 3 at the Olympic Training Center with a West Point cadet and a Soldier from Fort Benning, Ga., making the cut.

U.S. Military Academy Cadet Stephen Scherer of Billerica, Mass., and Sgt. 1st Class Jason A. Parker of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit at Fort Benning qualified for the 2008 Olympic Team in Men's Air Rifle.

This will be Parker's third Olympics.

There are five slots on the U.S. Olympic Airgun Team - two slots for Men's Air Rifle and one slot each for Women's Air Rifle, Men's Air Pistol and Women's Air Pistol. Emily Caruso, 2004 Olympian, of Fairfield, Conn., qualified for the team in Women's Air Rifle. Three-time Olympian Rebecca "Beki" Snyder of Grand Junction, Colo., and 2004 Olympian Jason Turner of Rochester, N.Y., both qualified in Air Pistol.

Cadet Scherer, 19, earned an Olympic berth in Men's Air Rifle by finishing the competition with a total score of 1994.1 points.

Parker, a 2000 and 2004 Olympian from Omaha, Neb., earned a spot on his third Olympic team by taking second place with a final score of 1,990.8.

Scherer's younger sister Sarah Scherer finished in second place in Women's Air Rifle, behind Caruso, with a total score of 1,393.3.

Snyder earned a berth to her fourth consecutive Olympic team by finishing the competition in first place in Women's Air Pistol with a total score of 1,332.9.

In Men's Air Pistol, Turner qualified for the U.S. Olympic team after finishing with a total score of 1,935.4. Brian Beaman of Selby, S.D., took second with 1930.4 and two-time Olympian Sgt. 1st Class Daryl L. Szarenski of the Army Marksmanship Unit finished right behind Beaman in third place with a score of 1,930.1.

The U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Shooting is a collaborative partnership between the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Shooting and was conducted at the Olympic Training Center March 1 to 3. Airgun athletes were selected to the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team on the final day of competition by a combination of the match scores from all three days of competition, plus each athlete's top two finals scores. The USOC has final approval of all U.S. Olympic Team members.

(Mary Beth Vorwerk writes for USA Shooting and through a collaborative effort with the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit grants permission for her articles to be reprinted.)

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