Rifle Begins Title Defense Saturday with Qualifier

Feb. 17, 2012

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Winners of the 2011-12 Great American Rifle Conference regular-season championship and the defending national champions, the Kentucky rifle team begins its NCAA title defense on Saturday, hosting the NCAA Qualifying competition at UK’s Barker Hall.

“The team has been working real hard the last two weeks,” UK head coach Harry Mullins said. “We have had a week off but the team deserved a break from competing. We are eager to get going tomorrow. Going into the qualifier, the whole team has been working hard.”

Kentucky (11-1) will begin its title defense with the post-season portion of its schedule, hosting the NCAA Qualifying competition at Barker Hall on Saturday before traveling to Oxford, Miss., for the GARC Championships on Feb. 25-26.

“We are going to see some really good things tomorrow from a lot of folks,” Mullins said. “This is the start of our postseason. Tomorrow will be 50-percent of our qualifying score, so this is an important step to get into the NCAA’s. From here on out it is all about getting ready for the postseason and maximizing yourself when you get out and compete.”

Throughout the season, the Wildcats have been led by veterans Henri Junghänel, Ethan Settlemires, Emily Holsopple, Heather Greathouse and Stacy Wheatley.

“Tomorrow we have Ole Miss on the line with us and they are a very good team,” Mullins said. “They are ranked No. 8 in the nation right now and are really fighting to get into the championships.”

Last time out, UK picked up the 4674-4591 win over N.C. State in the regular-season finale to finish 6-0 in league play and win the seventh conference championship in program history. The league crown marks the second consecutive regular-season championship and unbeaten league slate for the powerhouse Wildcats.

“We have been bouncing back and forth with some numbers the last few weeks,” Mullins said. “We hopefully will put ourselves in a position to get the numbers we wanted. We may have some individuals that will jump up into the NCAA’s with some performances. Overall, I am just so proud of this team and how hard they work. If they stay within themselves and keep working hard good things will happen. We are eager to get on the range tomorrow and compete.”