Rifle in Second Place After Day One of NCAA Championships

March 13, 2009

Smallbore Results (PDF)

FORT WORTH, Texas -- Behind a second-place finish from junior Ashley Jackson, who missed winning the smallbore individual national championship by .01 of a point, the Kentucky rifle team sits in second place after day one of competition at the 2008-09 NCAA Championships, held on the campus of Texas Christian University.

"We worked every shot to the bone and I am really proud of our team," UK head coach Harry Mullins said. "They handled themselves with great pride and effort today. We just overworked a few shots and pushed ourselves too hard at times, which is just because they really want to succeed."

Kentucky (10-2, 6-0 Great American Rifle Conference) sits in second place after the smallbore round, just one point behind Jacksonville State, who posted a 2312 Friday. UK finished with a 2312, good for second, ahead of the two-time defending NCAA Champion, Alaska-Fairbanks' 2299 smallbore total.

Jackson, a junior, posted a team-best 584 on the final relay of the day, catapulting to a spot in the finals. In the finals, Jackson was edged for the individual national championship by Brian Carstensen of Jacksonville State, who posted a 95.2 in the finals, just ahead of Jackson's 95.1.

"Ashley lost the national championship by literally the smallest margin of measurement that we use and we lost the smallbore team national championship by just one point," Mullins said. "Ashley held together like a champ. Shooting a 584 on the last relay (second highest score of the day) was a tremendous performance. The pressure on that relay is unbelievable and she went out a got every point she could. Coming in second place by .01 of a point is a heart breaker. Even though she finished second she was our champion for today. It does not get any closer than that."

Freshman Ethan Settlemires finished second on the team with a 579 in smallbore, with Tom Csenge contributing a 575 to lead off the match and senior Andrew Roland posting a 573. Junior Jen Pason competed as an individual and tallied a 575.

The air rifle portion of the match begins Saturday at 10 a.m. ET in the Daniel-Meyer Coliseum. Live stats, and for the first time in NCAA rifle championship history, live video, will be available on gofrogs.com.

UK Head Coach Harry Mullins
Quotes Post-Round One

On his thoughts on the day ...
"We worked every shot to the bone and I am really proud of our team. They handled themselves with great pride and effort today. We just overworked a few shots and pushed ourselves too hard at times, which is just because they really want to succeed."

On the performance of Ashley Jackson ...
"Ashley held together like a champ. Shooting a 584 on the last relay (second highest score of the day) was a tremendous performance. The pressure on that relay is unbelievable and she went out a got every point she could. Coming in second place by .01 of a point is a heart breaker. Even though she finished second she was our champion for today. It does not get any closer than that."

On any disappointment after finishing second in the smallbore championships ...
"I felt we had a good smallbore team before the match and after the match I know that we have a great smallbore team. Working the shots the way they did made me very proud. Many times they had the opportunity to give in to the pressure and never gave an inch. Even though they finished second, there was nothing left to give, JSU just did it a little better than we did today, but I feel we had a good day. Again losing by one point is the closest measurement that we use in the team event which is out of 2400 points."

On his thoughts entering the final round Saturday ...
"We are in a good position to make our move if we come out tomorrow and perform in a manner that has gotten us here. We are a good air rifle team and we know how to perform. This again will provide us a stage to show this to ourselves. There will be just a little more pressure. Pressure can be our biggest ally or our worst enemy. It is going to depend on how we deal with that tomorrow. After them team meeting tonight, I think that we have a good grip on things but only time will tell."

On how he rates the day ...
"I think that overall we had a good day. We stayed focused and worked to our max. If we do this again tomorrow I think that we can leave this tournament with a good feeling."