Amador County Olympic hopeful Aeriel Skinner was in Redlands, California this past weekend at the 2020 Golden Bear Trap Championship.
Skinner was competing in a warm-up event for her second half of the Olympic Trials to be held in Tucson, Arizona February 28 through March 3. The Golden Bear is sponsored by USA Shooting and the California International Clay Target Shooting Association (CICTSA). It was a three-day, 300-target event, Friday through Sunday. Friday’s 100 targets were a Preliminary event. Scores for Saturday and Sunday’s 200 total targets were tallied for awards.
In the prelims, Skinner started off the morning by hitting 24 of 25 targets and continued on that vein to finish with a 92 out of 100 targets, placing first in AA Class and first over all competitors, which included male, female, junior and senior shooters.
However, Saturday’s first round was rough, posting a score of only 20 out of 25. With three more rounds to go, the 2019 Women’s World Cup Champion showed what she is made of and came back with rounds of 23, 23 and a perfect 25 to end the day with a 91.
There were two other competitors, both women, ahead of her at this point: Tomi Ownby, a junior shooter from Arizona with a 94; and Jessica Webb, an A Class shooter with a 93. There were three men shooters close on Skinner’s heels with 90s.
Sunday was to be the “Never Give Up” day, which are the three words glued on Skinner’s shotgun stock. Again, the morning started slow with a 21, 22 posted on her first two rounds, but she broke them all on her third round and finished with a 24 for a 92 and a total both days of 183.
The High Over All (HOA) for the Golden Bear Championship was George Clark, University of Arizona, with a 184, followed by Skinner, who tied with Matthew Killeen of Arizona State with 183s. Skinner placed first in AA Class and was awarded the High Women buckle for her performance.
Skinner is currently in fifth place after the first half of the Olympic Trials, which were held in Kerrville, Texas this past summer. There are only two USA quota spots for women in International Trap (Bunker) for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics, which begin in late July. She will have to beat two of the best women Bunker shooters in the United States and fend off many great hopefuls to secure her journey to the Olympics this year, no easy task but one she is definitely up for.
“It looks like the training hours we’ve put in are paying off as her performance at Redlands indicates,” said Skinner’s local coach, Rich Lynch. “This year’s Olympics were originally not part of her training plan. We were realistically looking to the 2024 Olympics in Paris, but we are definitely ready for Tucson.”
If you are interested in helping support Aeriel on her journey to the Olympics, contributions may be deposited in an account at American River Bank, PO Box 908, Jackson 95642 in the name of Aeriel Skinner. Any monies donated to her cause will be used for purchase of shotgun shells, targets and shoot fees for training purposes. USA Shooting athletes are not funded by government sources as in other countries and rely on their own personal income, donations and sponsorships to fund their training. Contributions may also be made by going to USAShooting.org, a 501c3 non-profit, in support of the entire USA Shooting Team.