Rifle Opens NCAA Title Defense Friday vs. Ole Miss

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Coming off its first national championship in program history the No. 1 Kentucky rifle team opens its 2011-12 season with a lidlifter against league foe Ole Miss, slated for Friday at UK’s Barker Hall.

“Overall, this should be an exciting weekend,” UK rifle head coach Harry Mullins said. “The team has been working hard on the range the past month and a half. They are ready to test what they have learned and developed. Having Ole Miss as our opening match will bring that excitement. Ole Miss is off to a good start this year with a school-record win against Alaska-Fairbanks a few weeks ago. They have been in their match schedule now for about three to four weeks. They are very talented group of young ladies and they will come into Lexington looking for another win.”

Kentucky is coming off the first NCAA Championship in program history, winning the combined categories and smallbore national championship in 2010-11. UK was led by an NCAA individual national championship in smallbore from Ethan Settlemires, the first individual national champion in program annals.

“During this match our freshmen will be very excited,” Mullins said. “This will be their first college match and they will push very hard to give their best performance to date. Our upperclassmen are also very hungry to get the match season underway. They too have been training hard on the things they want to improve and have that opportunity to put that to a test.”

The Wildcats also return a bevy of talent from its championship squad including NCAA Championship heros Henri Junghänel, Heather Greathouse and Emily Holsopple.

“The main thing we want to get out of this weekend is a good start in getting our performances to the level that we want as a group,” Mullins said. “Don’t get me wrong, big numbers never hurt and we would love those as well. But the effort the team has put in so far should be rewarded with some good performances this weekend.”

UK also returns talented shooters Katie Fretts, James Jasis, Ed Ryznar and Stacy Wheatley. The Wildcats have also welcomed a new group of shooters, including Eijah Ellis, Aaron Holsopple, Cody Manning, Ethan Marne, Jonathan Pinkel and John Sutton.

“So far the energy this group has brought to training has been tremendous,” Mullins said. “Now it is time for us to put that energy to use in taking our tests. I am looking forward to seeing our team back out on the range competing as they strive to get better every day.”

Fans can follow the match through live scoring and the first multiple-camera video feed in collegiate rifle history.