FORT BENNING, Ga. – Three soldiers from the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) earned a trip to the International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF) World Championships at the Spring Selection match this past weekend in Kerrville, Texas.
Trap shooters Sgt. 1st Class Ryan Hadden, Spc. Seth Inman and Pvt. Austin Odom shot their way onto the USA Shooting Shotgun Team after four days of intense competition March 13-16.
“Shooting is an individual sport, but it’s always best when the Army team is on top,” Hadden said. “If I wasn’t shooting I was watching my teammates, pulling for them. We are extremely pleased with how things played out.”
At the competition, shooting scores from the fall selection match held last October were combined with the spring scores to determine qualification for the ISSF Championships, which will be held in Granada, Spain. Hadden was in first place based on his fall scores, and continued to dominate from the beginning of the spring competition. He shot a 238 (out of 250 targets) and claimed the first final. The Pendelton, Ore., native is a three-time World Cup Gold Medalist and wants to add a World Championship medal to his collection.
“The world championships are a big deal in this sport and a stepping stone towards the Olympics,” Hadden said. “As my career winds down it would mean the world to me to win a medal there.”
Inman, a Lexington, Mo. native, will shoot in his first World Championship representing the Army after holding on to second place throughout the match. Like Hadden, Inman was in second after the fall match and kept a firm grip on the position after equaling Hadden’s score of 238.
“It’s a great feeling,” Inman said. “We put in a lot of hard work to get to this point. Now we need to keep driving on, staying focused as we get prepared to compete at the worlds.”
Fresh out of basic infantry training, Odom won the junior division and a trip to Granada for the World Junior Championships. Having graduated just two weeks ago, the Benton, Ark., native shot a 226 and closed out the weekend with a victory in the finals to put an emphatic stamp on AMU’s performance in Texas.
As the trap team’s elder statesman, Hadden said there is satisfaction and a sense of achievement when a new recruit fulfills the promise they demonstrated during AMU recruitment.
“(Odom) only got about five or six days of training in after having to go through in-processing, so to shoot the scores that he did after that kind of layoff was phenomenal,” Hadden said. “It feels really good when the guys you bring to the team are working out.”
Besides qualifying for the World Championships, Hadden and Inman will also shoot at the Championship of the America’s (CAT) this fall. Both championships are the first two qualifying matches for the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics, and shooters can earn quota slots for their respective countries.
Next up in Kerrville are the Men’s skeet and double trap matches. The World Championships will be held Sept. 6-20 and the CAT games are scheduled for Oct. 11-20 in Guadalajara, Mexico.
USAMU is part of the U.S. Army Accessions Brigade, Army Marketing and Research Group and is tasked with enhancing the Army’s recruiting effort, raising the standard of Army marksmanship and furthering small arms research and development to enhance the Army’s overall combat readiness.