Soldiers with the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit won a total of 34 medals and seven 2024 Olympic Quotas for Team USA during two recent international competitions.
The winning streak kicked off at the International Shooting Sports Federation’s Shotgun World Championships in Osijek, Croatia, Sept. 19 - Oct. 12 when Spc. Samantha Simonton claimed the Bronze Medal in Women’s Skeet, earning the first Paris Olympic Quota in the event for Team USA. (Each country must earn a ticket, or quota, in every event to compete at the Olympic Games.)
After that, the Gainsville, Georgia resident joined up with her civilian teammates, Austen Smith and Dania Vizzi, to help bring home the Gold Medal in the Women’s Skeet Team event in a tight Final against Italy.
In Men’s Skeet, USAMU Staff Sergeants Christian Elliott and Dustan Taylor joined forces with three-time Olympic Gold Medalist, Vincent Hancock (who is also an alum of the USAMU/U.S. Army veteran), to claim the Silver Medal in the Men’s Skeet Team event in another intense Final against Italy.
As soon as the Shotgun World Championships were over, the ISSF Rifle and Pistol World Championships started in Cairo, Egypt Oct. 12 - 28. At this international competition, Team USA turned up the heat.
Spc. Alison Weisz seized Gold Medal and Olympic Quota in Women’s 10m Air Rifle in a tight Final against China. This win also earned the Belgrade, Montana native the title of the Women’s Air Rifle World Champion, something an American woman has not accomplished since 1979, according to NBC Sports.
After her huge win, Spc. Weisz joined up with another USAMU Soldier, Spc. Sagen Maddalena, and Team USA’s Mary Tucker. This trio of 2020 Olympians took the Silver Medal in a Final against China.
Next up with the 50m Prone Mixed Rifle event where Sgt. Maddalena, a Groveland, California native, and Sgt. Ivan Roe, a Bozeman, Montana native, seized the Gold Medal against Ukraine.
In the Women’s individual 50m Three-Position Rifle event, Sgt. Maddalena placed fourth earning Team USA its first 2024 Olympic Quota in that event.
The final medal won by a Soldier at the Rifle and Pistol World Championships, was the Bronze Medal in Men’s 300m Standard Rifle, which was claimed by Staff Sgt. Tim Sherry of Littleton, Colorado. No quotas were given out for this event as it is no longer an Olympic event.
Overall, Team USA claimed 19 World Championship medals and five Olympic Quotas. The U.S. Army Soldiers who were members of Team USA won seven of those medals and three of the Olympic Quotas.
The next opportunity to earn Olympic Quotas was the 2022 Confederation of the Americas (CAT) Championships in Lima, Peru Nov. 4 - 12, and Team USA turned up even more heat.
Sgt. Brandon Muske started off the games by winning Gold Medal and 2024 Olympic Quota in the Men’s 10m Air Rifle event.
In the individual Women’s 10m Air Rifle event, Team USA dominated by sweeping the podium. Sgt. Maddalena seized the Gold, Tucker claimed the Silver and Spc. Weisz took the Bronze. Since USAMU’s Maddalena already earned a Quota at the World Championships, the 2024 Olympic Quota for this event went to Team USA’s Tucker.
In the Women’s 10m Air Rifle Team event, these same three 2020 Olympians beat out Argentina for the Gold Medal, bring home another Medal for Team USA.
Not to be outdone, the men of Team USA stepped up and claimed the Gold Medal in the Men’s 10m Air Rifle Team event against Argentina as well. This U.S. team included USAMU’s Sgt. Muske and Spc. Levi Clark, and Team USA’s Lucas Koziensky.
Next up on the schedule was the 10m Mixed Air Rifle event where Team USA won both the Gold and Silver Medals. The Gold was won by the team of Sgt. Maddalena and Koziensky while the Silver was won by Spc. Weisz and Sgt. Roe.
The busy schedule of events then changed to Smallbore, or 50m Three-Position Rifle. Team USA took the Gold and Silver, as well as another 2024 Olympic Quota. USAMU’s Sgt. Roe beat out his fellow USAMU teammate, Sgt. Sherry, for the Gold and Quota.
For the Men’s 50m Three-Position Team Rifle event, Team USA grabbed another Gold. This team included Koziensky and USAMU Soldiers Sgt. Sherry and Staff Sgt. Patrick Sunderman.
In the Women’s 50m Three-Position Team Rifle event, Team USA won that Gold as well. This team included Team USA’s Katie Zaun and Tucker and USAMU’s Sgt. Maddalena.
These same athletes then teamed up for the 50m Mixed Prone Rifle event. USAMU Soldiers, Staff Sgt. Sunderman and Sgt. Maddalena, won the Gold while Sgt. Sherry and Koziensky took the Silver.
In the individual 50m Prone Rifle event, the men and women competed together and Team USA dominated the range and swept the podium, placing three U.S. Army Soldiers in the spotlight. Sgt. Maddalena won the Gold while Staff Sgt. Sunderman and Sgt. Sherry took the Silver and Bronze.
Shotgun matches were up next at the CAT Games and USAMU’s Staff Sgt. Taylor, a Liberty, North Carolina native, came out of the gate with a Gold Medal and 2024 Olympic Quota in Men’s Skeet after a tight Final against Peru.
Taylor then teamed up with Staff Sgt. Elliott and civilian athlete Ben Keller for the Men’s Skeet Team event. This trio claimed the Gold against Chile.
In the Mixed Skeet Team event, Team USA won the Gold as well as the Silver. The Gold was earned by Staff Sgt. Taylor and civilian athlete Vizzi while the Silver was earned by Staff Sgt. Elliott and Spc. Simonton.
With the skeet events over, the shotgun matches moved onto the trap events.
USAMU’s Sgt. Rachel Tozier took the Bronze Medal in Women’s Trap while Staff Sergeants Will Hinton and Derek Haldeman took the Gold and Bronze in Men’s Trap. Hinton’s Gold Medal win also seized yet another Olympic Quota for Team USA.
After that, the athletes teamed up for the Mixed Trap Team event, and Staff Sgt. Hinton and Sgt. Tozier took home the Bronze.
Team USA was not done there yet though. They ended the CAT Games by winning the Silver Medal in the Women’s Trap Team event and the Gold in the Men’s Trap Team event. The U.S. Women’s Trap Team included Aeriel Skinner, Kayle Browning and Sgt. Tozier. The U.S. Men’s Trap Team included Casey Wallace and USAMUs Staff Sergeant Hinton and Haldeman.
By the end of the GAT Games, Team USA had earned 44 total medals and ten Olympic Quotas for the 2024 Olympics. The Soldiers from the unique marksmanship unit at Fort Banning earned Team USA 26 of those medals and 4 of the the Quotas.
Between the two international competitions, Team USA brought home 63 medals and 15 Quotas, with U.S. Army Soldiers being responsible for 34 medals and seven Quotas.
Women’s Skeet - Spc. Samantha Simonton from Gainesville, GA
Men’s Skeet. - Staff Sgt. Dustan Taylor from Liberty, NC
Women’s 10m Air Rifle - Spc. Alison Weisz from Belgrade, MT
Men’s 10m Air Rifle - Sgt. Brandon Muske from Brenham, TX
Women’s 3Position Rifle - Sgt. Sagen Maddalena from Groveland, CA
Men’s 3Position Rifle - Sgt. Ivan Roe from Bozeman, MT
Men’s Trap - Staff Sgt. Will Hinton from Lawrenceville, GA