Final Four Spots On U.S. Olympic Shooting Team Are Finalized At Smallbore Rifle Trials

by Chrös McDougall

Nick Mowrer celebrates his men's air pistol silver medal at the Pan American Games Lima 2019 in Lima, Peru.


The final four spots on this summer’s U.S. Olympic shooting team are now set.

Mary Tucker, Sagen Maddalena, Nick Mowrer and Patrick Sunderman each earned Olympic berths in three-position rifle Wednesday as the USA Shooting Smallbore Rifle Trials Part 2 wrapped up in Fort Benning, Georgia.
In total the U.S. will now have 19 shooters at the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Team USA qualified the maximum eight quotas for shotgun and rifle, plus five for pistol.
Scores from this week’s event were combined with those from Trials Part 1, which took place in fall 2019, to determine the Olympic team. In addition to shooters’ scores, they also earned points based on their finishing position in the finals.
Tucker, 19, is one of the sport’s rising stars and had already secured a spot in Tokyo by winning the Olympic trials for air rifle in February 2020.

A native of Sarasota, Florida, Tucker began shooting in high school at the Sarasota Military Academy. However, she left the team there to focus on honing her skills in the family’s garage. Also a talented equestrian, Tucker went on to the University of Kentucky to study equine science. Earlier this year she won a team and two individual NCAA titles for the Wildcats, as well as her first world cup event.

Maddalena was named the second alternate for women’s air rifle after those trials. The 27-year-old now has a spot of her own.

The native of Groveland, California, learned the sport through a combination of her patient grandfather and the local 4-H club. That led to her competing collegiately at Alaska Fairbanks, and eventually to the world championships in 2014 and 2018.

Ginny Thrasher, a 2016 Olympic gold medalist in air rifle, came into Part 2 of trials with the lead but ended up finishing third.

Like Tucker, Mowrer had previously qualified for the Tokyo Games in February 2020 when he won the air pistol trials. This summer will mark his second Olympics, as he also competed in free pistol in 2012 in London.

The native of Butte, Montana, now 32, is rare among shooters in that he excels across two disciplines. A sergeant in the U.S. Army Reserve, Mowrer is the only American to have reached the world cup podium in both pistol and rifle. Now he’s the first USA Shooting athlete to make the Olympic team in both disciplines.

Sunderman, 26, of Farmington, Minnesota, is headed to his first Olympics. A member of the of the Army Marksmanship Unit, Sunderman, a sergeant, has been on active duty since June 2016. Before that he had been a member of the West Virginia Army National Guard during his time at West Virginia University, where he won four NCAA titles.
Sunderman won his first world cup medal, a silver, earlier this year in New Delhi, India.

Chrös McDougall has covered the Olympic and Paralympic movement for since 2009 on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc. He is based in Minneapolis-St. Paul.