Will Shaner Gold, Mary Tucker Silver in Air Rifle at ISSF Jr. World Championships
LEXINGTON, Ky. – University of Kentucky senior Will Shaner earned gold in men’s 10m air rifle, while fellow Wildcat Mary Tucker claimed silver in women’s 10m air rifle as the UK duo continued their dominance on the international stage Thursday at the ISSF Junior World Championships in Lima, Peru.
Shaner was dominate in the men’s final, making it through the first competition stage and the elimination stage unscathed with a winning total of 250.7. In the elimination stage, Shaner posted 10.5 or better eight times to claim the gold. Rudrankksh Balasaheb Patil finished second with a 250.0. Shaner qualified for the men’s final with a 630.7 overall in qualifying to sit first out of 41 competitors. The Olympic Gold medalist set the tone early in his qualifying round Wednesday with a 105.9 in the first series and 105.7 in the second series.
Tucker performed well under pressure Thursday, having to come from behind to earn the silver medal. The junior sat tied for fifth after the first competition stage but eight of her next 10 shots went for 10.5 or better to get her back towards the top of the leaderboard. In the final elimination shots, Tucker posted a 10.7 and a 10.3 to tie Oceanne Muller for first and force a one-round shoot off. Tucker scored a strong 10.0 in the final shot, but Muller posted a 10.4 to claim the gold. The Olympic silver medalist posted an impressive score of 632.1 in qualifying, which was the second-highest score Wednesday.
International competition is nothing new to Shaner nor Tucker, who both qualified for the United States to compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and brought home medals. Shaner became the first American male to bring home gold in the 10m air rifle event, while Tucker won silver in the mixed team air rifle event and finished sixth in women’s 10m air rifle. Shaner finished sixth in the mixed team event. Both stars have been consensus first-team All-America honorees each of the last two years with Shaner also carrying that same title as a freshman. Tucker was the smallbore, air rifle and overall NCAA national champion last season, while Shaner finished second in air rifle. The two have combined to win the last three CRCA Athlete of the Year award with Shaner taking it in 2019 while Tucker won the title in 2020 and 2021.
Shaner and Tucker both helped Kentucky claim its third national championship in 2021 and the Wildcats will begin the 2021-22 season ranked No. 1 in the CRCA Preseason Top 20. The 2021-22 season begins Oct. 9 with UK traveling to Morehead State for a dual match. UK’s home opener will be Nov. 6 against Ole Miss, who is No. 2 in the CRCA Preseason Top 20.
The 2021 ISFF Junior World Championships featuring rifle, pistol and shotgun events, are taking place September 27 through October 10 in Lima, Peru. A complete schedule of events, including live results and a broadcast schedule is available online at ISSF-sports.org. Shaner and Tucker will team up in the air rifle 10m mixed team event and represent the USA in the air rifle 10m team competition Saturday.
For more information on the Kentucky rifle team, visit UKathletics.com or follow UKRifle on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.