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Proving Her World Title Wasn’t A Fluke, Shooter Morgan Craft Starts Olympic Season With A Win

By Craig Bohnert | March 23, 2016, 5:41 p.m. (ET)

(L-R) Silver medalist Andri Eleftheriou of Cyprus, gold medalist Morgan Craft and bronze medalist Katie Jacob pose with their medals after the women's skeet final at the ISSF World Cup Shotgun at the Nicosia Olympic Shooting Range on March 22, 2016 in Latsia, Cyprus.

Two American women opened the 2016 skeet shooting season by claiming a gold and bronze at the world cup event in Nicosia, Cyprus, Tuesday.

Reigning world champion Morgan Craft showed she didn’t lose her edge in the off-season, posting a perfect match to take the gold medal, while teammate Katie Jacob, a 16-year-old from Rochester, Michigan, won the bronze in her world cup debut.

Jacob was a junior finalist at the 2015 world championships, and in Nicosia she demonstrated that she can overcome pressure situations in international competition at the senior level. Six athletes had to compete in a shootoff for a single spot in the semifinals, and Jacob came through to earn the last semifinal slot. In that round, she tied teammate Craft and Andri Eleftheriou of Cyprus, hitting 14 of 16 targets.

The deciding shootoff advanced Craft to the gold-medal round, while Jacob faced off against Slovakia’s Danka Bartekova, the 2012 Olympic bronze medalist. Jacob emerged victorious in the duel to claim her first international medal, hitting 14 of her 16 targets compared to Bartekova’s 12.

Craft had to be perfect in the final to beat Eleftheriou’s 15 targets, and she was, nailing all 16 to claim the gold and her first world cup gold medal. The 22-year-old also has a silver and bronze from the 2015 world cup circuit to go with her world championship gold medal.

Five-time Olympic medalist Kim Rhode finished sixth.

The United States now has won three medals at the meet, as Jeff Holguin took the silver in men’s double trap on Saturday.