No. 4 UK Rifle Gets Third Ranked Win in a Row, Hosts No. 8 Nebraska on Sunday
LEXINGTON, Ky. – The fourth-ranked Kentucky rifle team picked up another top-25 win on Friday against No. 18 Akron, 4705-4618.
“I was pleased with the work that we put in during the match,” head coach Harry Mullins said. “We are more focused and starting to produce good shots. I was really happy for the folks that broke their personal records. They have been training hard and it is nice to see that pay off during competition. Our air rifle score was down today and we’re going to have to get that under control. With time, that will come up to the same level as our training.”
The Wildcats improved to a new season best in two categories. They fired their season-high total score by one point, buoyed by a 2345 in smallbore.
In smallbore, all five of the top individual scorers in the match were Wildcats.
Heather Kirby set two new personal records with a 596 in air rifle, one point better than her previous record, and a 585 in smallbore. Those two scores combined to give her an 1181 aggregate and the top individual spot for the match.
Carr finished with a 588 in smallbore, which was good enough to be her second-best smallbore finish of the season just behind her finish last week of 590. She followed with a 592 in air rifle and finished in second place one point from Kirby.
Billy Azzinaro stayed steady in his performance this week as he finished as the fourth overall individual. The junior scored 583 in smallbore, which is his third-best score in the discipline this season, then followed with a 586 in air rifle for an 1169 aggregate.
Jason Spaude was another name to add to Friday’s list that achieved a personal best. Spaude fired a new career high in smallbore, 581, and tied the second-best air rifle score of his career, 587. That score is one point shy of his personal best, 588.
Senior Sonya May achieved a new personal best as she led the way in smallbore with a 589, just one point shy of the team season high – owned by Hanna Carr – 590. She eventually ended up with an aggregate of 1167.
Cathryn Papasodora shot her new season-high score in air rifle with a 591. That is the fourth best mark of her career. In smallbore, Papasodora finished with a 570 for an 1161 aggregate.
In the second relay, Carmen Fry stepped up for the Wildcats. The sophomore shot her season best in air rifle, 590, then followed with a 582 in smallbore for an aggregate of 1172 and third place overall.
Jason Scharbel shot his second-highest air rifle score of his season, 585. He ended up with an 1164 aggregate, good enough to finish in the top ten individuals for the day.
The Wildcats will host No. 8 Nebraska on Sunday at 8:30 a.m. for their first top-10 match of the season. The Cornhuskers tied with Ohio State at 4662 after they defeated Ole Miss 4659-4654 two weeks prior. Nebraska will compete against Akron on Saturday in Lexington.
“Coming into our match against Nebraska, we will have to continue to bring our best performance,” Mullins said. “They are a very tough team and look to shoot high numbers. We need to stay focused on the things that have gotten us this far, and see where that takes us.”
On Sunday, Kentucky will be shooting in honor of DanceBlue as part of an overall fundraising effort. Admission is free, but fans will be able to donate to DanceBlue at the match.
DanceBlue is a University of Kentucky student-run organization that fundraises year-round and culminates in a 24-hour no sitting, no sleeping dance marathon. All of the money that is raised through DanceBlue is donated to the Golden Matrix Fund, which then works to support the kids of the DanceBlueKentucky Children's Hospital Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Clinic, as well as support of research at the UK Markey Cancer Center. Throughout it’s 11 years, the organization has raised more than $9.8 million dollars and is raising more than $1.6 million in 2016.
May, the rifle representative for the UK Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, has initiated an effort to get the team involved because DanceBlue is a growing community philanthropic event.
“The money raised goes to a cause that has a great need,” May said. “As citizens of the Lexington community, it is our duty to help out as best we can. Some of the children and families that receive assistance from the DanceBlue clinic could become the athletes and scholars that replace us in future generations at UK. It’s definitely worth it to be involved to help the fight against cancer.”
For more information about DanceBlue, visit danceblue.org.