Big East

Three Advance to U.S. Olympic Team Trials

May 19, 2016

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Three with current or past ties to the West Virginia University rifle team earned the right to advance to the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Airgun at the 2016 Olympic Trials Makeup Match for Airgun, May 13-15, at the U.S. Olympic Training Center, in Colorado Spring, Colorado.  

Sophomore Elizabeth Gratz, 2015 graduate Thomas Kyanko and current graduate assistant Dan Hermsmeier matched or exceed the 10th-place score at the 2015 USA Shooting Winter Airgun Championships, held last December, to advance to the final part of the Olympic Trials, set for June 3-5, at Camp Perry, Ohio. The trio will join 2016 graduate Garrett Spurgeon and 2010 graduate Bryant Wallizer; the duo qualified in December.

“This match was a successful result for Elizabeth, Dan and Thomas,” Mountaineer coach Jon Hammond said. “They’ve been training hard, and this keeps their Olympic dreams alive. It will be great to have such a good WVU representation at the final.”

Gratz, a native of Sigel, Illinois, finished second overall with a three-day total of 1242.8, surpassing the qualifying mark of 1235.5. Gratz shot 410.8 on day one, 415.9 on day two and a field-best 416.1 on day three.

“Elizabeth has had a solid couple of months of competition,” Hammond noted. “She has a few more weeks to train, which will allow her to enter the final with a positive mindset.”

Of note, four females advanced to the trials’ final part.

Only three men matched or exceeded the qualifying score of 1857.4, with Hermsmeier shooting a competition-best 1862.8. He shot 617.4 on day one, a field-best 624.8 on day two and 620.6 on day three.

Kyanko finished third with a 1860.0 total, shooting a competition-best 621.8 on day one, 622.5 on day two and 615.7 on day three. 

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