Rifle Aims for NCAA Championship

COLUMBUS, Ga. -- Winners of the regular-season Great American Rifle Conference Championship, the Kentucky rifle team returns to action in its final test of the 2010-11 season, traveling to compete in the NCAA Championships, hosted by Columbus State on Friday and Saturday.

“We have worked hard all season long to get to this point,” UK head coach Harry Mullins said. “Now it is time to go out and have fun. That is the mindset we have to take. Yes, it is the NCAA Championships but they just need to come out and do what they have done all year. Work hard every shot, stay focused, shrug off mistakes and continue to grind.”

The competition will be held on Friday at the United States Army Marksmanship Unit at Fort Benning, Ga., and on Saturday at the Frank G. Lumpkin Jr. Center on the Columbus State campus. The teams will shoot smallbore on Friday at Fort Benning and the air rifle portion on Saturday on campus. Eight teams qualified for the NCAA Championships, including defending national champion TCU and 14-time NCAA Champion West Virginia. WVU posted an NCAA record 4704 team score earlier this year.

“The competition is always tough at this thing,” Mullins said. “That is what they call it the national championship. But the competition is only as tough as we let it be. We compete against the course in our sport. There are some really good shooters and whoever wins, it is going to be close. There are some really good athletes here. We compete in the toughest league in the nation, so we have seen these teams many times. We have to take care of what we can control. It is not going to be a cake walk for anybody.”

Kentucky won the GARC regular-season with an unbeaten season, besting West Virginia in a home match at UK’s Barker Hall to complete the undefeated conference slate.

The Wildcats have been led throughout the season by newcomers Henri Junghänel and Emily Holsopple, along with veterans Katie Fretts, Ethan Settlemires, Logan Fox and Heather Greathouse.