USAMU shooter wins Gold Medal at Junior Olympics
By Scott Engen
National Guard Bureau
FORT BENNING, Ga., Sept. 4, 2002 A U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit soldier took home the gold medal Aug. 28 in the 2002 USA Shooting Junior Olympic Shooting Championships at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Pvt. Matthew T. Wallace, 19, battled a steady, bone-chilling rain and a strong field of competitors to emerge as America's best young male international trap shooter. Wallace, a native of Stanton, Tenn., came out of the rain-soaked qualifying round in third with a score of 113 of a possible 125 targets. At that point, he was two targets behind Drew Denison, 18, of Hereford, Texas, and one behind Joshua Richmond, 16, of Hillsgrove, Pa.
A score of 20 from Dennison and a 19 from Richmond in the final round, however, were no match for Wallace's powerful 24 of 25 targets. The USAMU shooter won the gold medal with a total of 137. Denison finished with 135 on the scoreboard for the silver. Bryan Marshall, 20, of Troutdale, Ore., went 25 for 25 in the final and then won a tie- breaking shoot-off against Matt Scamardo, 16, of Bryan, Texas, to win the bronze medal with a score of 134.
Nearly 100 of the nation's best young shotgun athletes participated in the 2002 Junior Olympic Shooting Championships. The contestants were invited based on their results in Junior Olympic qualifying events in their home states, by winning their state's American Trap Association junior 16-yard singles title or by competing at the USA Shooting National Championships.
All the athletes are 20 or younger; this year's youngest entrant was just 11. Winners of the National Junior Olympic titles in each event will be named to USA Shooting's National Development Team, where they will be eligible for additional competition and training opportunities.
Wallace joined the Army Dec. 19 after graduating from Covington (Tenn.) High School. After completing basic training and infantry training at Fort Benning, he was assigned to the Army Marksmanship Unit on April 19. He's single and lives at Fort Benning.
The shotgun shooter has numerous marksmanship accomplishments. After winning the silver medal in the Junior Trap Match at the World Championship Team Trials, he won a spot on the 2002 World Championship Team. Wallace was the 2001 Junior National Trap Champion, 2001 Junior Olympics International Trap bronze medallist, silver medalist in the 2000 Junior International Trap National Championship and a three-time Junior American Trap Association All-American.
For more information on the Army Marksmanship Unit, visit its Web site at www.usarec.army.mil/hq/amu.
(Scott Engen works for USA Shooting, the national governing body for Olympic and international shooting sports in the United States. Its Web site address is www.usashooting.com.)