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Ex-UAF shooter places 5th in air rifle

Beth Bragg

Considering the way her day began Saturday at the London Olympics, Jamie Beyerle Gray might be able to find some solace in her fifth-place finish in women's 10-meter air rifle.

In her first practice round at the Royal Artillery Barracks, Gray scored a zero.

"It was interesting shooting a zero on my first shot of sighters," Gray said in a press release from USA Shooting. "But once I got everything back together and ready it was okay."

Gray said she put the sights on her rifle on crooked, "and I couldn't find the wrench to fix it."

"I was flustered at first, because I'm a slow shooter."

The drama didn't end there for Gray.

In the qualifications early Saturday morning, she shot 397x400 to finish in a five-woman tie for fourth place. Eight shooters advanced to the finals, so a five-woman shootoff was needed to decide which four would move on.

Gray, 28, finished second in the shootoff to secure a spot in the finals. Advancing with her was Sarah Scherer of Woburn, Mass., and Katie Emmons, a shooter from the Czech Republic who qualifies as an honorary Alaskan -- she's married to former UAF great Matt Emmons.

In the finals, Gray started slowly and was in eighth place after four of the 10 shots before making a steady climb up the standings, aided by two straight 10.7s. She ended up in fifth place with a total score of 499.7.

The gold medal went to Yi Siling of China, who won with 502.9.

Emmons, the defending gold medalist in the event, was fourth in 500.3. Scherer finished seventh with 499.0. It was the first time since the 2000 Sydney Olympics that America advanced two women to the finals in air rifle.

For Gray, it was her second Olympics finals in the event. She placed fourth at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, the same year she placed fifth in 50-meter 3-position rifle. She'll compete in that event later this week.

Between Olympics, Gray became an Army wife. Her husband, Staff Sgt. Henry Gray, is a member of the Army Marksmanship Unit. She's an assistant riflery coach at Columbus State in Phenix, Ala.

She was known as Jamie Beyerle at UAF, where she was a member of four NCAA championships teams from 2002-04 and 2006. She won the NCAA air rifle championship in 2003 and the smallbore title in 2006.

After surviving the zero in her practice round and the five-person shootoff for a spot in the finals, Gray appears ready to move on to her next competition, Friday's 50-meter 3-position event.

"Hopefully (smallbore) will be better," she tweeted.

Reach Beth Bragg at bbragg@adn.com or 257-4335.


By BETH BRAGG
bbragg@adn.com
Contact Beth Bragg at bbragg@adn.com or on