No. 3 UK Rifle Travels to NCAA Championships

Championships Central

AKRON, Ohio – One of eight teams to qualify, the third-ranked Kentucky rifle team will compete at the NCAA Championships this weekend, which will be held at the Louis & Freda Stile Athletics Field House on the University of Akron campus.

"The expectations for our program are always to be competing at the top, but as a coach sometimes you have to realize we've been able go to this event all the time," head coach Harry Mullins said. "This is a fairly new bunch of individuals. We have (juniors) Sonya (May) and Heather (Kirby) who have been to the NCAA Championships twice before. I think they understand the atmosphere and the expectations of the program.

"Then we're going into this with three freshmen: Hanna (Carr), Cathryn (Papasodora) and Carmen (Fry). We will try to maintain our composure as far as being able to work within the atmosphere. That will be a key component to our strategy to attain success."

The Wildcats have qualified for the NCAA Championships every season since 2001. UK finished sixth in the championships last year after placing third in 2014, second in 2012 and 2013, and winning the title in 2011.

The top eight teams in both the smallbore three-position and air rifle events were selected based on the average of the three highest regular-season aggregate scores with no more than one match at any given site. The average of the three highest scores was added to the aggregate scores from the designated qualifiers to determine the top eight teams.

A total of 48 competitors will compete in the championships, with 40 competitors coming from the top eight teams selected. The remaining eight competitors were selected based on the scores submitted from the designated qualifier.

Smallbore competition is set for Friday at 10:15 a.m. ET to kick off the championships. Air rifle will commence at 10:15 a.m. ET on Saturday with finals taking place at 2 p.m. 

The overall team champion will be determined by combining the smallbore and air rifle team total scores into one aggregate for each team.

"I think overall the team has worked hard this year, Mullins said. "Seeing what we've seen the past few days in training and even leading up to the Conference Championships, some things are starting to fall into place. We're hoping we did our job the right was so we peak at the right time to get the results we wanted. On the work ethic end of it I think this group has put in a tremendous amount of work over the course of the season."

This season, Kentucky‘s average aggregate score is 4679, with a 2316 smallbore average and a 2362 air rifle average.

UK’s season-high score, 4703, came at the Akron Invitational at the Stile Field House, where the championships are being hosted.

The Wildcats’ season-high air rifle score of 2370 came on Oct. 17 in a win over Murray State, while the season-high smallbore performance, 2336, came at home on Jan. 30 in tri-match win over Murray State and Memphis.