Gville native aiming for the Olympics

A Gainesville native, who is in the Army, is a step closer to qualifying for the Summer Olympics after winning the Gold Medal in Women’s Skeet at the recent International Shooting Sports Federation World Cup in Egypt.

Sgt. Samantha Simonton is a member of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit Shotgun Team and earned her chance at the Olympics with a qualifying score of 121 out of a possible 125, which beat 31 other competitors from around the globe and tied one from France.

With part two of USA Shooting’s Shotgun Olympic Trials coming up in March, Sgt. Simonton said a gold medal win in the challenging cold and windy conditions helps her prepare for the highly competitive match that determines which athletes will represent the U.S. at the Paris Games.

“I am just trying to use it as a training tool and move forward onto better scores like I have been training,” said Simonton.

This gold medal win brings Simonton’s ISSF medal count to five, one of which also came with a coveted Olympic quota for the United States in women’s skeet.

Though Simonton won one of the two possible Olympic Quotas for the Women’s Skeet event, that does not qualify her personally for the Games. It just ensures that an American athlete has a ticket to the Games. That means Simonton will compete for a seat on Team USA at USA Shooting’s Shotgun Olympic Trials in Tucson, Arizona, next month.

(U.S. Army photo)