UK Rifle Set for Top-5 Showdown at Home vs. No. 1 West Virginia
By Jacob Most
Feb. 6, 2015 -
LEXINGTON, Ky. – The fifth-ranked Kentucky rifle team will conclude the regular season with its toughest challenge yet: a showdown with top-ranked West Virginia for the Great American Rifle Conference Regular-Season Championship beginning on Saturday at 8 a.m. ET inside Buell Armory.
Kentucky (10-1 in dual matches, 7-0 GARC) and West Virginia (10-1, 7-0 GARC) are both perfect in Great American Rifle Conference (GARC) matches. Saturday’s competition is UK’s last match of the regular season, and the winner will be crowned the GARC regular-season champion.
Air rifle will start at 10:30 with fans welcome to watch on the range. Fans are asked to remain upstairs during smallbore due to space concerns.
“It’s always exciting when West Virginia comes to town, especially with the numbers they’ve been shooting this year,” UK head coach Harry Mullins said. “They’ve had a phenomenal season so far this year. Consistently above 4700 so hopefully we’re up for the challenge.
“We’ve been working really hard and learning on how to close some good numbers towards the end. Hopefully some things we’ve done the last two or three weeks will pay dividends this weekend.”
Live scoring will be available at UKathletics.com. UK rifle fans can take advantage of free breakfast during the competition on Saturday in the upstairs portion of Buell Armory. Live scoring will be projected on a big screen for those taking advantage of the free food and drinks.
Kentucky won its final regular-season road match, posting a score of 4668 to defeat Ohio State last Sunday in Columbus, Ohio.
West Virginia is coming off its first loss of the season as WVU lost to No. 2 Alaska-Fairbanks, 4706-4705, last weekend.
West Virginia’s average score this year is 4713.33, while UK’s is 4684.33.
“I told the team even with West Virginia being here, from here on out there’s something at stake every match. This weekend both teams are coming into it undefeated from the conference standpoint so this will decide the Regular-Season Conference Championship, then the next match is NCAA Qualifiers, then the Conference Championships and then hopefully the NCAA Tournament.
“From here on out getting into the postseason is always an exciting time throughout the course of the year we always look forward to it.”
Connor Davis won smallbore for the second week in a row against Ohio State, scoring 582 a week after tying the school record with a 592.
Davis, the defending NCAA Air Rifle Champion, leads UK in smallbore with an average of 584, which is the second-ranked smallbore average in the country this year. He is averaging a 590 in air rifle and an aggregate score of 1174 (ranked No. 3 in the nation).
Heather Kirby owns UK’s leading air rifle average score (591), while her aggregate average is 1163. Kirby is currently the seventh-ranked air rifle competitor in the nation based on average.
“Consistency is what we’re working on. We consistently work on the things we need to improve on. Strengthening those and staying consistent in our performance. I hope that with the way we’ve been doing things we can hit some solid numbers this upcoming weekend to where we can kind of climb the mountain.”