Staff Sgt. Brandon Green wins NRA title after extremely close struggle with defending champion Carl Bernosky
Port Clinton, Ohio - In closest finish the NRA High Power Rifle Championships have seen in a long while, Staff Sgt. Brandon Green of the United States Army Marksmanship Unit captured the 2013 national title from defending champion Carl Bernosky by a tie-breaker.
The fourth and final day of the championships began with Green and Bernosky each at 1789 points, but Green possessing six more tie-breaking Xs - 98 to 92. With three matches left to shoot, the two men were presented with an opportunity to break away from one another and add an additional 600 points to their scores. As the sun sat low in the early morning sky, competitors assembled at the 200 yard line for the first match, the Crescent Cup, whose 20 shots are taken slowly from the standing position. As fate would have it, both men stumbled during the match. Bernosky and Green each dropped four points and were now tied at 1985. Green managed to push his overall X lead to seven, posting eight to Bernosky's seven.
The Cavalry Cup Match came next. Here, competitors would squeeze off 20 rapid fire shots from 300 yards while in the prone position. Seemingly determined to be mirror images of one another, Green and Bernosky both bounced back from their earlier tumbles and scored perfect 200s... once again remaining tied, this time at 2185. However, here in the Cavalry Cup, Bernosky was able to close the already-small gap between himself and Green. Scoring 14 Xs to Green's eight, the two shooters were about to enter the final match with Bernosky down a single X.
It would all come down to the Crowell Trophy, a slow fire match shot in the prone position at 600 yards. When all was said and done, twelve competitors had managed to shoot perfect 200s, but neither Bernosky nor Green were among them. Their fate almost undeniably linked at this point, both shooters dropped a single point and scores 199s, cementing their tie-by-points at 2384 each. The winner would need to be determined by the even-harder-to-hit tie-breaking Xs created for just this situation. Green, entering the match with a one X lead over Bernosky, had 12 - Bernosky had shot 13.
The final match over, both Green and Bernosky were tied with scores of 2384-126x.
In order to break the tie, the two scores would be compared by how well each man shot from the 600-yard line. If the tie persisted, the comparison would move up to the 300-yard line. From there the 200-yard rapid fire scores would be compared, followed by the 200-yard slow fire scores. If the men were still equally matched, the tie-breaker would eventually count the point values of the individual hits - starting back at 600 yards - until a mis-match was found.
But the tie-breaker didn't need to go too deep to award Green the championship. Accounting for all shots taken at 600 yards, both men had scored 597s, however Green had 35 Xs and Bernosky only had 34.
It is the slimmest margin of victory seen in a long time, but Green is officially the 2013 NRA National High Power Rifle Champion - his first after years of finishing so close.
Staff Sgt. Green will be crowned the 2013 champion at tonight's High Power award ceremony - congratulations.