Rifle Wins NCAA Title in Smallbore; Championship on Line Saturday

March 9, 2012

UK Wins Second Consecutive National Championship in Smallbore; Defend Overall Title Saturday
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Behind a team-best 587 from Emily Holsopple and a 585 from Henri Junghänel, the Kentucky rifle team captured its second consecutive national championship in smallbore, with a 2328 total team score during day one of the 2011-12 NCAA Championships, hosted by Ohio State at Converse Hall.

Kentucky (11-1, 6-0 Great American Rifle Conference) won its second consecutive national championship in smallbore with a 2328 total team score, edging second-place Army’s 2325 score. UK owns a three-point advantage entering the final day of the 2011-12 season, with air rifle to be contested on Saturday at Ohio State’s French Field House.

“I am proud of the team for today, this is a big accomplishment for them and the program,” UK head coach Harry Mullins said. “It was a good performance. No one gave up and everyone worked hard, stayed focused and stayed true to themselves. This kind of atmosphere can be contagious and the team did a great job of staying focused and working through their plans. We obviously have an important and challenging day ahead of us but are eager to get back out on the range tomorrow and compete.”

The Wildcats – who won UK’s first ever NCAA Championship in smallbore and the combined categories in 2010-11 – were paced by Holsopple and Junghänel, with Holsopple finishing second overall with her 587 score. Ethan Settlemires, the defending individual NCAA Champion in smallbore, fired a 579, while Stacy Wheatley contributed a 577 to round out the UK starting lineup.

“It was great to see Henri and Emily do good today,” Mullin said. “Emily finished third and Henri placed fifth. When you put two shooters into the final eight with a field at the NCAA’s like we have this year, that is pretty special. There are some world class shooters here. It was also great to see Wheatley step up on such a grand stage. Just three years ago she had never shot smallbore and now she stepped up for us at the NCAA Championships.”

UK also had competitors Heather Greathouse and Katie Fretts compete at the NCAA Championships in smallbore, with Fretts charting a 571 and Greathouse a 567.

Last year, the Wildcats posted a 2336 to win the first smallbore team national championship in program history. UK held of a feisty West Virginia performance in the air rifle portion of the match to post a 4700 overall team score – setting a NCAA record – and winning the first national championship in program history. Since the 1994 season, the Wildcats have finished among the top 10 teams at the national championships a total of 16 times. UK owns four runner-up finishes and four third-place finishes since 1994.

“It is easy to take Emily and Henri for granted and just expect them to show up every day,” Mullins said. “For them to put forward those performances in this environment is tremendous. They did a great job and it really just shows how big Ethan (Settlemires) 590 (national championship winning) score in smallbore was last year.”

TCU’s Sarah Scherer won the individual national championship in smallbore with her 589, finishing with a 688.6 in the smallbore finals to win the title.

UK leads Army (2325), TCU (2323), Alaska-Fairbanks (2312), Nevada-Reno (2306), Jacksonville State (2304), UTEP (2303) and West Virginia (2297), among the eight teams who qualified for the championships.