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    Fort Benning Soldiers win six World Cup Medals in Lima, Peru

    Dacula, Georgia Soldier wins World Cup Gold Medal in Peru

    Photo By Maj. Michelle Lunato | U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Will Hinton (right), along with his civilian USA Shooting...... read more read more

    FORT BENNING, GA, UNITED STATES

    04.21.2022

    Story by Maj. Michelle Lunato 

    U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit

    FORT BENNING, Ga. – Soldiers with the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit Shotgun Team won six medals at the International Shooting Sports Federation World Cup in Lima, Peru March 27 - April 4.

    Sgt. Rachel Tozier, a Pattonsburg, Missouri native, was the first Fort Benning Soldier to claim a medal in Lima. The 2020 Olympic Alternate joined up with her civilian USA Shooting teammates: Aeriel Skinner and 2020 Olympic Silver Medalist Kayle Browning. The trio seized the Gold Medal in the Women’s Trap Team event over Guatemala and Puerto Rico, who won the Silver and Bronze Medals respectively.

    Tozier, who had just won an individual Bronze Medal and a team Silver Medal at the World Cup in Nicosia, Cyprus in March, said adding yet another World Cup Medal to her new collection was a wonderful feeling. “It was amazing to win back-to-back team medals, and even better to bring home the gold from Lima. I’m hoping to continue the streak in Italy [which is the next shotgun World Cup]!” (To watch the Women’s Trap Team Final, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ipSWGf-INWs&t=32s.)

    Team USA then seized another Gold Medal in the Men’s Trap Team event later that same day over Spain and India, after a sudden death shoot-off during the Gold Medal Match. The USA Shooting team included 2020 Olympian Derrick Mein, Jake Wallace and USAMU’s Staff Sgt. Will Hinton, a Dacula, Georgia native.

    The Fort Benning Soldier, who took the final shot in the shoot-off, said he was happy his training and fundamentals paid off during such an intense moment.

    “Sudden death shoot-offs are always nerve-wracking, but my routine and process paid off that day for the winning shot for Team USA,” said Hinton, now a two-time World Cup medalist. (To watch the Men’s Trap Team Final, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mifVbCf7vsM.)

    The next day, Browning teamed up with USAMU’s Staff Sgt. Derek Haldeman for the Mixed Trap Team event. The duo claimed one of two available team Bronze Medals, along with Spain. Another Spanish team and Mexico won the Gold and Silver respectively.

    The Mixed Trap Team Bronze Medal was the first World Cup Medal in trap for Haldeman, who previously competed, and medaled at a World Cup, in double trap. The Sunbury, Ohio native said that winning an international medal was just the thing he needed to kick off the season with confidence. “It’s been two years since I competed overseas and being able to contribute to USA’s incredible medal count this year was an amazing feeling.” (To watch the Mixed Trap Team Final, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGpKsjXNBaM.)

    When the skeet portion of World Cup Lima started, USAMU’s Staff Sgt. Hayden Stewart added to the Soldier medal count, but only after a sudden death shoot-off that broke the seven-way tie for the four remaining slots in the individual Men’s Skeet Final.

    Once in the Final, the Columbia, Tennessee native took the Bronze, behind Peru and Argentina. Going into the Final, Stewart felt confident and had a feeling that he was finally going to win his first World Cup Medal, something he’s been chasing for a long time. However, being an experienced competitor, the 2020 Olympic Alternate knew he had to remain calm and rely on his training. “I kept telling myself to trust the process: Go out there and fight till the very last shot and don’t focus on the outcome.”

    But when he knew he medaled, all the emotion came to the surface. “The moment that I had secured the medal, I was overtaken by pride and excitement. It was a great feeling to know that all the countless hours on the range trying to prefect my technique and mental game have paid off,” said Stewart. (To watch the Men’s Skeet Finals, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9LSSMbAfgA.)

    Stewart didn’t have to settle for just one medal though, because two days later he teamed up with civilian athlete, Caitlin Connor, for the Mixed Skeet Team event. The pair claimed one of the two Bronze Medals, with France taking the other.

    Team USA was not done there. The USA Shooting Team of 2020 Olympian Austen Smith and USAMU’s Staff Sgt. Dustan Taylor paired up for the Mixed Skeet Team event as well, and won the Silver Medal behind Italy.

    Coming home with his first World Cup Medal was a great surprise to Taylor since he was originally slotted to only shoot in the individual skeet qualification rounds for world ranking points. However, the Liberty, North Carolina native said it wasn’t just points he was shooting for since it was decided that the highest scoring men would be paired up with the highest scoring women for the Mixed Skeet Team event. “After that, I knew my performance in the qualification rounds would determine if I could compete for a medal in the Mixed Team event.”

    So, the Soldier said he pushed himself a bit more to take advantage of the opportunity, and before each shot he’d ask himself, ‘What does it take to beat the best?’

    After competing, side by side with the most elite shotgun athletes in the world, the Fort Benning Soldier came out tied for the high score of all competitors with 122 points out of 125, and was added on the roster for the Mixed Team event, an event he had never competed in internationally. (To watch the Mixed Skeet Team Final, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WHAdmvIpVeU.)

    In addition to the six medals that USAMU Soldiers helped accumulate, the civilian athletes of USA Shooting won five more medals, bringing the total World Cup medal count from Lima to eleven. Browning and Mein took Silver and Bronze in the women’s and men’s individual trap categories. Dania Vizzi and Smith claimed Gold and Silver in women’s individual skeet. And the team of Vizzi, Smith and Connor won Gold in the Women’s Skeet Team event.

    Seizing eleven medals at one World Cup cannot do anything but help Team USA’s confidence, especially after everyone has had to adjust to the new ISSF Finals formats, said Haldeman.

    “The new formats for all the Finals have been a bit challenging, but everyone has adapted very well, and the team will keep the momentum rolling for the rest of this year’s World Cups.”

    The next shotgun World Cup will be in Lonato, Italy April 19-30.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 04.21.2022
    Date Posted: 04.21.2022 10:49
    Story ID: 418943
    Location: FORT BENNING, GA, US 
    Hometown: COLUMBIA, TN, US
    Hometown: DACULA, GA, US
    Hometown: LIBERTY, NC, US
    Hometown: PATTONSBURG, MO, US
    Hometown: SUNBURY, OH, US

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