Rifle Cats Finish Conference Championships On Top

Feb. 25, 2002

- MORGANTOWN, W.V. -- The University of Kentucky rifle team claimed the 2002 Great American Rifle Conference Championship this weekend, Feb. 22-24. In their repeat championship performance, the Cats set a new GARC and school record with a team total, 6255. The previous conference record, 6244, was set by Kentucky last season in the championships.

The Cats grabbed the smallbore and air rifle championship titles with scores of 4708 and 1547. UK's smallbore score is also a new school and conference record, which was also previously set by the Cats last season with a 4670.

"I am very happy for the team," Coach Harry Mullins said. "Most of these kids were on the team last year so its great to see them come together again to win the conference championship. It's great that we peaked now and hopefully it will carry us into the NCAA's."

Sophomore Bradley Wheeldon led the Wildcats as he grabbed the GARC individual combined and smallbore titles. Wheeldon's smallbore score of 1577 sets a new UK record. Freshman Aaron Shader was not far behind Wheeldon as he finished third in the same competitions. In smallbore action, Wheeldon was the highest kneeling shooter with a 398, Shader took highest standing shooter and sophomore James Nash scored a 400 as highest prone shooter.

The three Wildcats also earned various All-GARC honors. Only four shooters are named to each team and they are selected based on season average. Wheeldon was named to the All-GARC first-team combined and second-team smallbore and air rifle. Shader took first-team air rifle and second-team smallbore, while Nash took second-team All-GARC combined, smallbore and air rifle honors.

The Cats, who finished first at the NCAA Sectional on Feb. 10, wrap up the 2002 season when they open up competition in the NCAA Championships. Kentucky finished second at last year's championship.