TUSCON, Ariz. It was an all-American shootout for the gold and silver medals for Mens Double Trap during the 2014 International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF) Shotgun World Cup April 13 at the Tucson Trap and Skeet Club.
After both U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit Soldiers hit 27 out of 30 targets, Staff Sgt. Jeff Holguin captured his first World Cup gold by beating teammate Staff Sgt. Josh Richmond in a shoot out for first place.
I think we did well in the semi-finals because the wind was really getting to some of those guys, Holguin said, adding that previous competitions in Texas and Tucson had prepared the USAMU shooters for windy conditions.
The two team mates compared notes before the finals started because they had noticed small inconsistencies with the targets presentation during the qualification rounds. We bounced a couple ideas off each other and ... it really helped, Holguin said. When were at the top of our games, were tough to beat.
The shoot-off ended for the USAMU members with Holguin coming out ahead with four hits to Richmonds three.
Richmond said he was surprised when the dust settled, and it was him and Holguin in the top two spots.
It felt great when I looked over at the score board and I could see it was me and Jeff in the shoot off for the gold and silver, he said.
Holguin described his first World Cup gold medal as awesome because there was a pretty good field of shooters out there. To get to the semi-finals, he finished fourth in the qualification with a score of 140.
Richmond said there were some tough targets on the fifth bunker, where he shot his lowest round with a 25, but rallied back to tie for number six, leading to a shoot-off against Great Britains Steven Scott.
Shooting against a fellow Soldier, Holguin said, took off some of the pressure.
If it was someone else, maybe I would have been more nervous, because I wasnt at all. It just felt like me and him were shooting back at (Fort Benning), he said.
One of the things that he said took off the pressure off was that they both qualified for the gold medal finals and no matter what they both were going home with medals around their necks.
The way the new rules are set up if you can get in the gold medal match, you are guaranteed a medal, and if youre shooting against your team mate thats awesome (because you know youre both walking away with hardware), Holguin said.
The shooters have a full schedule of World Cups and their goal is to have a medalist on the stage at every one of them, preferably gold, Richmond said.
That will never change no matter what level of competition, he added.
As they try to win gold throughout the rest of the season, they are beginning to focus on the road to the 2016 Olympics.
We have our eyes on the World Championship in Spain. Its the first time you can earn a quota spot for the Olympics, Richmond said. Were going to be training hard, gearing up toward that.
USAMU is part of the U.S. Army Accessions Brigade, Army Marketing and Research Group and is tasked with enhancing the Armys recruiting effort, raising the standard of Army marksmanship and furthering small arms research and development to enhance the Armys overall combat readiness.