No. 5 UK Rifle Embarks Upon NCAA Championships

March 11, 2015

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska -- The fifth-ranked Kentucky rifle team enters this weekend's NCAA Championships, which will take place Friday and Saturday at Alaska-Fairbanks' E.F. Horton Rifle Range and Patty Center in Fairbanks, Alaska., as one of eight qualified teams.

"This time of year, when we get to postseason, is always exciting because we get to see what we have worked for all season long," UK head coach Harry Mullins said. "We develop a plan at the beginning of the year and implement that plan to a certain point. We've seen some good parts to it and some parts we need to work on.

"Hopefully we've been able to repair some of the stuff we've needed to work on so we can put our best performance together for the last match of the season."

UK qualified for the NCAA Championships for the 15th straight year - every season since 2001. UK finished third at the NCAA Championships last year after placing second the previous two years and winning the NCAA Title in 2011.

The top eight teams in both the smallbore three-position and air rifle events were selected based on the average of the three highest regular-season aggregate scores with no more than one match at any given site. The average of the three highest scores was added to the aggregate scores from the designated qualifiers to determine the top eight teams.

A total of 48 competitors will compete in the championships, with 40 competitors coming from the top eight teams selected. The remaining eight competitors were selected based on the scores submitted from the designated qualifier.

Individual and team competitions in smallbore three-position (60 shots) will be held at 1 p.m. ET Friday, March 13 in Horton Rifle Range. Air rifle individual and team competitions (60 shots) will start at Noon on Saturday, March 14 with large crowds expected in the Patty Center.

The overall team champion will be determined by combining the smallbore and air rifle team total scores into one aggregate score for each institution.

"We've seen some good things in training the last few weeks, and even some really good things at the Conference Championships," Mullins said. "Hopefully we'll be able to capitalize on that this week in Fairbanks. It's always a great reward, a great honor to be selected for the NCAA Championships. It's something teams work for all season so we're excited to have a chance to go out and prove ourselves. See how well we can perform."

Kentucky's average score this season is 4671, with a 2316.067 smallbore average and a 2513.867 air rifle average.

UK's season-high score, 4688, came on Jan. 17 at Ole Miss.

Kentucky's top air rifle team score this season, 2369, was recorded at Alaska's facility in a win over Nebraska in late-November. UK's smallbore season-best score, 2328, came at Ole Miss.

Connor Davis, the defending NCAA Air Rifle Champion, ranks third in the nation in average combined score (1174.692). Davis ranks No. 2 nationally in average smallbore score (583.769).

Heather Kirby is UK's top air rifle shooter in terms of average (591.154), which ranks eighth in the nation.

Team Qualifiers (Smallbore Three-Position and Air Rifle)
University of Alaska Fairbanks
Jacksonville State University
University of Kentucky
Murray State University
University of Nebraska, Lincoln
Texas Christian University
U.S. Air Force Academy
West Virginia University