A 23-year-old deadeye with the Army Marksmanship Unit qualified for the U.S. Olympic team on Sunday in air rifle, one of five athletes to make the squad in the final shooting trial before the games in Rio de Janeiro.
Spc. Dan Lowe will compete in his first Olympics after finishing second in the three-day competition in Camp Perry, Ohio. He needed a strong performance on the third day to punch his ticket and ended up not only qualifying for Sunday's finals, but winning them outright to earn enough points for the overall runner-up slot.
"I accepted that my chances had gone down a lot, so I knew I had a lot of work to do," Lowe said in a USA Shooting news release. "I didn't want to know the point spread – I knew it was close, but I knew I needed to win [the final] to get this."
The top finisher, rising North Carolina State senior Lucas Kozeniesky, has military ties of his own: His father, Col. Craig Kozeniesky, is deputy commander of Marine Corps Special Operations Command at Camp Lejeune.
Lowe, of Olympia, Washington, earned bronze medals in the 2015 and 2014 national air rifle championships, according to his USA Shooting bio. He will join a half-dozen Army noncommissioned officers who've also earned Summer Olympics spots, including three Army Marksmanship Unit teammates and a pistol shooter, race walker and pentathlete from the Army World Class Athlete Program.
Sunday's qualifiers round out Team USA's shooters. Athletes in other events will continue to qualify throughout the summer, including via the 11-day track and field trials set to begin June 30. The Olympics run Aug. 5-21.
Kevin Lilley is the features editor of Military Times.