Hanish, Starling Advance in Pro Series Event #3
Sunday, April 24, 2016
Ty Starling won a stage on his way to qualifying for his second consecutive 3GN Championship.
Virginia International Raceway—Mark Hanish and Ty Starling navigated three tough stages and a field of top talent here to advance into the 3GN Championship in October. Each competitor survived the cut on Stage 1, and won an elimination challenge later in the match, to advance to a second consecutive 3GN Championship.
The Event 3 field comprised of Hanish, Starling, Nick Atkinson, Jesse Tischauser, Jason Edwards and Scott Greene. The first four, all returning Pros, qualified for last season’s 3GN Championship, while rookies Edwards and Greene qualified for this year’s Pro Series during the 2015 3GN Nationals. Greene has quickly become an accomplished 3-Gunner, while Edwards is one of the top pistol shooters in the country, and winner of the PCC division at two 3GN Regionals this season. In short, this was a talented, diverse field of 3GN Pros.
On Stage 1 penalties affected most of the field. Greene kicked off the action with a time of 53.90 after a five-second penalty for a clay miss. Edwards followed with a solid opening run of 36.89. Tischauser dropped a slug target, the five-second penalty pushing his time to 42.16. Starling equaled the slug miss, his time with penalty adding to 42.10. Atkinson had a stellar raw time of 32.65, but two slug penalties knocked the run down to 42.65. Finally, Hanish minimized the penalties somewhat, with one 2.5-second penalty pushing his time to 40.20, keeping him safe from elimination. The bottom three of Greene, Tischauser and Atkinson were forced into the Stage 1 pistol elimination challenge.
Mark Hanish returns to the 3GN Championship, a tournament where he's had success in past seasons.
Greene again opened the action, a solid effort with only two pickups for a time of 7.58. Atkinson followed and was even better, equal with two misses but at a faster pace, his time of 6.13 eliminating Greene. Finally, Tischauser followed with a torrid pace of his own, but too many misses and a time of 7.43 fell short, with Atkinson winning and advancing to Stage 2.
Atkinson opened the action on Stage 2, again with a 2.5-second penalty and a critical mental mistake of forgetting to depress the stop button, pushing his time to 53.93. Starling followed with a better run, but shockingly committed the same mental mistake, pausing for a couple of precious seconds before depressing the stop button in a time of 49.05. Hanish struggled with his shotgun load and had a pistol jam and a 2.5-second penalty, his time of 52.24, sending Atkinson to the eliminator. Finally, after struggling a bit with his shotgun load, Edwards finished strong for a time of 50.57, sending Hanish to the eliminator.
In the Stage 2 shotgun elimination challenge, Atkinson opened the action, a solid run to a time of 4.43. Hanish followed and was even better, his time of 3.21 winning the stage and eliminating Atkinson.
Stage 3 proved to be a rough affair for each of the three finalists. Hanish began the stage, missed the activator for the DeathStar before struggling on the target, his time of 63.29 setting the pace. Then disaster struck for Edwards, who after a solid run through the shotgun and pistol portions of the stage, failed to ground his pistol in the abandonment bucket. The pistol fell to the ground, and by rule, Edwards was disqualified from the competition, his promising Stage 3 run halted by the range officer. That left only Startling, who merely had to finish the stage to advance, which he did after a rough stage, including a 60-second penalty for failing to spin the MGM Spinner for a total time of 85.76.
Nick Atkinson won the Stage 1 pistol eliminator before falling during the eliminator on Stage 2.
Despite their Stage 3 runs, Hanish and Starling both return to the 3GN Championship, joining Daniel Horner and Greg Jordan as the only back-to-back qualifiers since the advent of the elimination format. Lance Dingler and Tim Yackley round out the first six competitors that have advanced for October’s finale during 3GN Championship Weekend at VIR.