Azzinaro Leads UK Rifle On and Off the Range

Between majoring in mechanical engineering, minoring in mathematics, in addition to competing on the Kentucky rifle team, Billy Azzinaro has his hands full. However, this does not stop the junior from East Brunswick, New Jersey, from surpassing expectations in everything he does, including excelling both in the classroom and on the shooting range.

After getting 98% and 100%’s on his last three exams in Calculus 2, Azzinaro’s professor approached him after class and providing the opportunity for him to study abroad. Azzarino would travel to Germany for six weeks in the summer and take Calculus 3. The professor said that if Azzinaro committed to going, she would give him the override to go from Calculus 2 to Calculus 4. Seeing a big opportunity in front of him, Azzinaro did not hesitate to take the opportunity to go abroad, which set him a semester ahead of everyone else on his engineering track.

Azzinaro has also been recognized by other professors for his knack to go above and beyond.

“I got a letter last year from one of my professors that I had (in class),” Azzinaro said. “It was a letter for one of the Engineering Honor Societies on campus. Reading the letter, you’re only allowed to be invited if you’re a junior or a senior, but last year I was only a sophomore. Because of my credit hours and I was in his class, he sent me the invite, so that was really cool.”

In addition to his exploits in the classroom, Azzinaro has gone to Junior Olympics for rifle three times. In air rifle, he went from placing 39th his senior year of high school, to 9th place freshman year in college, to 6th place last year. Azzinaro brought home the Bronze medal in smallbore last year as well. 

Azzinaro says that traveling to events like the Junior Olympics have put him into situations where he can apply all of the different things he has learned. He said that the bridge between the things he learns in the classroom can apply to shooting, and vice versa.

Kentucky head rifle coach Harry Mullins likes the effect that Azzinaro has on his teammates. 

“Billy brings a lot of very positive energy to the team,” Mullins said. “He is very passionate about the sport and is always willing to learn. His upbeat attitude and dedication to the team is what coaches look for in athletes. He takes great pride in being a Kentucky Wildcat and always gives max effort.”

The expectations for this season are high, both for Azzinaro and for the Kentucky team.

“I think we’re on the right track,” Azzinaro said. “We’re much more mature, our decision-making skills have gotten much better, our scores have even increased and we haven’t even done much training over the summer. Right off the bat we’re shooting better.” 

Azzinaro believes the team will peak at the perfect time. And if they do, it could be largely due to Azzinaro’s effect on the team.