Soldiers, sailor set to compete for Team USA rifle, pistol berths

Daryl Szarenski

Army Sgt. 1st Class Daryl Szarenski might compete in two pistol events in London. (Army photo)

Two spots on the U.S. Olympic pistol team are spoken for, and Army Sgt. 1st Class Daryl Szarenski has one of them.

But adding another one couldn’t hurt.

Szarenski, already en route to his fourth Olympics after earning a berth in the 10-meter air pistol event, will compete for a 50-meter free pistol spot at the Olympic qualification event at Fort Benning, Ga., beginning Thursday. He took 14th in the 50-meter event at the Beijing games last year.

The qualifier, which will decide four open spots pistol spots and three smallbore rifle spots for the London games, runs through June 11, according to this USA Shooting event preview. Szarenski will face 50-meter competition from national champ Nick Mowrer and Jason Turner, who qualified alongside Szarenski in the 10-meter event.

Sgt. 1st Class Keith Sanderson and Sgt. Brad Balsley will represent the Army in the 25-meter rapid fire pistol qualifier — Sanderson was fifth in Beijing, and Balsley took second in the 2011 national championships, according to the USA Shooting release.

The top two rapid-fire finishers at Benning — home of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit, of which Balsley is a member — will head to London. The women competing for a spot in 25-meter sport pistol won’t have that luxury: Information Systems Technician 1st Class Sandra Uptagrafft comes into the event as the top seed, and she’ll need to stay that way to head to London. If she makes it, she’ll join her husband, Army Sgt. 1st Class Eric Uptagrafft, a USAMU member who previously qualified in the 50-meter prone rifle event. Read more about Sandra Uptagrafft and her work with a Navy “Shebee” unit in Afghanistan here.

The rifle range will also be busy at Benning, with three smallbore Olympic spots up for grabs: Competing to join Eric Uptagrafft in London in the 50-meter prone event will be Staff Sgt. Michael McPhail and Sgt. 1st Class Jason Parker, both USAMU members. Parker will also shoot for a spot in the three-position event alongside USAMU teammate Sgt. Joe Hein. Women’s competitors will be after a 50-meter prone qualification spot alongside Army spouse Jamie Gray, who will compete at Benning but has already secured a trip to London.


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