This is the next installment in a continuing series of articles over the next year where we follow the progress of our local Olympic hopefuls.

Brad Balsley sits in third place in the 25-meter Rapid Fire Pistol Olympic Trials at Fort Benning, Georgia, after Wednesday’s first day of competition.

The 2006 Uniontown graduate finished the first day of competition with a score of 581.

Emil Milev, a five-time Olympian, had the best Qualification score of the opening day, 585. An additional six points were added to his score for his first-place finish. Alexander Chichkov sits in second place with a score of 583.

All three men had a score of 99 in the first string. Chichkov pulled ahead in the second round with 99, with Milev finishing with 97 and Balsley 94.

Milev led after the third string with 292, just ahead of Chichkov’s total of 291. Balsley remained close with 289.

The gap between Milev and Chichkov remained just one after the fourth string with both shooters scoring 96. Balsley lost a point to both with a 95.

Milev kept his slim lead after the fifth string, while Balsley cut his deficit by one after scoring his second 99.

Milev gained his first-day lead on the sixth and final string with 99. Chichkov scored 94 and Balsley had a 93.

The trio is fighting for the second berth in the 25-meter Rapid Fire Pistol, the slot secured when Balsley, a sergeant in the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) based in Fort Benning, won the gold medal last summer in the Pan Am Games.

Keith Sanderson, a two-time Olympian, has already secured a berth in the discipline based on the Points System.

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