Newcomers Lead Rifle to Win over Morehead State

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Led by strong performances from freshmen Elijah Ellis and Jonathan Pinkel, the Kentucky rifle team picked up a 4635-4566 win over Morehead State on Sunday at UK’s Barker Hall.

“I thought they did real well today, I was proud of the way everyone handled themselves,” UK head coach Harry Mullins said. “To have two freshmen step in and lead the team was neat to see. It was a good day and we are proud of how the team executed and got a win. They showed some pride today in helping get UK a win today in a challenging environment. We hope this is the start of some really good things with this group.”

Kentucky (9-1, 4-0 Great American Rifle Conference) completed its two-match weekend on Sunday with the win over non-league foe Morehead State. UK shot in the Withrow Invitational on Friday at Murray State. In both matches, UK’s roster consisted of its second squad, with UK’s starting lineup not competing.

“The great part about this match was seeing everyone make adjustments throughout,” Mullins said. “There was a large crowd here today and that presented a challenging environment with some added pressure and nerves. Overall, I am really proud of what the team has done the last few days.”

Ellis led UK in smallbore with a 577, with Pinkel and James Jasis each recording a 574. Ed Ryznar totaled a 573 in smallbore, with Cody Manning (560) and Ethan Marne (568) rounding out UK’s competitors.

In air rifle, Pinkel led UK with a career-high 587, with Ellis recording a 585, Ryznar a 584 and Manning a 581. Jasis charted a 576 and freshman John Sutton rounded out UK’s air rifle scoring with a 556.

“He did real well,” Mullins said about Pinkel’s career-high performance. “His smallbore was solid, he had a 200 in prone, which is always nice to start. He struggled a bit in standing and his kneeling was solid. In air rifle he started out strong, he kept a good pace. It was a good score for him. For 90-percent of the teams in the country, he is shooting on the first team. He did very well for himself today. He is a good shooter he just has to find some confidence and solidify his place and get some confidence that he can execute.”

The Wildcats return to its grueling spring semester road schedule, traveling to Morgantown, W.Va., for a pair of conference matches to conclude the regular season. UK will face West Virginia on Saturday, Feb. 4, before facing off with North Carolina State on Sunday, Feb. 5.