Sarah Scherer led the way as five athletes qualified to compete at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games by their performances at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Airgun Sunday in Camp Perry, Ohio.
Rio marks the second Olympic Games for Scherer, while Lydia Paterson, Lucas Kozeniesky, Dan Lowe and Will Brown all make their Olympic debuts. With the close of airgun Olympic Trials, the 20-member U.S. Olympic Shooting Team is now set.
The 25-year-old Scherer returns to the Olympic Games after placing seventh in 2012 in London. Her brother Stephen competed at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games at age 19. After dealing with a lower back injury that required two surgeries and kept her off the range for 15 months, she began a comeback for Rio in September 2015. Prior to the injury she had won a world cup bronze at Fort Benning, Georgia, in 2014, and won air rifle and took bronze in three-position rifle at the 2013 national championships. Prior to London, she won a world cup gold in air rifle in Changwon, China, in 2011, as well as a junior world championship silver earned a year earlier in three-position. A resident athlete at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Scherer won the 2010 NCAA individual title in three-position and was a two-time junior national champion in air rifle (2008, 2010), taking silver in 2009.
Scherer joins Virginia Thrasher as Team USA's two entries in women’s air rifle. Thrasher did not compete in Ohio because she already qualified for Rio in women’s three-position rifle. She earns a start in air rifle because she has obtained a minimum qualifying score in that event as well.
Paterson, the women’s air pistol winner at trials, earned her first national team berth at the age of 16, making her one of its youngest members ever. The 19-year-old is a two-time junior national champion (2013, 2014) and U.S. silver medalist at the senior level in 2013. She had a top-10 world cup finish in Munich last year, placing eighth, and finished 38th at the world cup event in Rio earlier this year. Paterson will be Team USA’s sole women’s air pistol representative in Rio.
Kozeniesky finished 10 points behind the leader at the first stage of the U.S. Olympic Team Trials, held in December in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Starting anew in Ohio, the North Carolina State University student won the men’s air rifle competition. A newcomer to the national team, his career highlights include a 21st-place finish at the 2016 world cup in Bangkok and placing 29th at the 2014 junior world championships in Granada, Spain.
A member of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit, Lowe, 23, won bronze in air rifle at the 2015 national championships. A silver medalist in prone and bronze medalist in air rifle and three-position at the 2014 nationals, he also won bronze in prone at the 2013 nationals. Out of the three world cup events he has shot, he has a best finish of 29th in three-position at the 2013 event in Granada, Spain.
Brown, the men’s air pistol winner, burst onto the international scene by winning gold in his first-ever world cup final, posting a finals world-record score in 2013 at Fort Benning, Georgia. The 24-year-old has continued his success with a world cup silver from Bangkok earlier this year and has eight top-10 world cup finishes in his career, including a fifth at the Rio world cup in April. His gold medal at the 2014 Championship of the Americas in Guadalajara, Mexico, won the Olympic quota for the U.S. The Twin Falls, Idaho, native is a three-time junior Olympic champion (2009-11) and holds the national record in junior men’s air pistol with a score of 585.
Brown joins Jay Shi as the two U.S. entries in men’s air pistol in Rio. Shi did not compete in Ohio because he already has qualified for Rio in men’s free pistol and, like Thrasher, earned a double start as he has obtained a minimum qualifying score in air pistol.