By Mary Beth VorwerkMay 20, 2008
FORT BENNING, Ga. (May 20, 2008) - Sgt. 1st Class Jason Parker and Keith Sanderson of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit qualified Monday for spots on the 2008 U.S. Olympic team. They joined Maj. Mike Anti and Sgt. 1st Class Daryl Szarenski of USAMA who qualified last week in the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Shooting (Smallbore).
After holding the lead throughout the three days of the Men's Three-Position Rifle competition, three-time Olympian Parker finished on top with an overall score of 3,709.5 points to earn his second spot on the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team, while Sanderson earned his first berth to the team, after finishing the Rapid Fire competition in first place with a total score of 2,129.5 points.
"I am very excited about making the team, but I have a lot of work ahead of me," said Sanderson. "I shot pretty good finals here, so I accomplished a lot of my goals, but I still have a lot to do to prepare for Beijing to give myself the highest likelihood of success. I want to win a Gold Medal at the Games and I am pretty confident that I will be ready."
Parker will represent the USA in both Men's Three-Position Rifle and Men's Air Rifle at the Olympic Games in Beijing this August, joining 2004 Olympian Matt Emmons on the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team in Men's Three-Position.
Three-time Olympian Anti will represent the U.S. on his fourth Olympic team, after finishing the Men's Prone event in first place with a total score of 2002.6. Two-time Olympian Sgt. 1st Class Thomas A. Tamas, Anti's U.S. Army Marksmanship teammate, finished close behind in second place with 2001.1.
"I am very excited about making the team, but we have so many good prone shooters in the U.S., so it is kind of a bittersweet victory for me," said Anti. "Sgt. 1st Class Tamas is the best prone shooter I have seen in the world and a very good friend of mine, so it is a little disheartening not to have him on the team as well."
Szarenski will be on the U.S. Men's Free Pistol team. The trip to China will be his third U.S. Olympic competition. He took second place in the Olympic trials with a total score of 1849.3.
Anti will join Matt Emmons on the Men's Prone Rifle team.
Over 170 top rifle and pistol shooters from around the United States are competing for spots on the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Shooting (Smallbore), May 12 to 22, at the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit's Pool International Shooting Complex. The U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Shooting is a collaborative partnership between the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Shooting.
The rifle/pistol athletes are selected to the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team based on a combination of the three days of match scores, plus each athlete's top two finals scores. The USOC has final approval of all U.S. Olympic Team members.
For complete U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Shooting (Smallbore) results, visit www.usashooting.org .
(Mary Beth Vorwerk writes for USA Shooting)