MBB Program Feature: Rifle on right track heading into second semester

Editors note: this story was written to appear in the men's basketball game program and reposted on UKathletics.com

After losing some of the more decorated shooters in program history last season, Kentucky rifle head coach Harry Mullins was surprisingly optimistic entering the 2010-11 season.

Despite the graduation of lineup stalwarts Tom Csenge, Jen Pason and Ashley Jackson, Mullins entered the year excited about his potential roster. Mullins, along with assistant coach Stacy Underwood, hit the recruiting pavement in the offseason, securing arguably the best recruiting class in the nation.

“We knew we lost some really talented shooters and some great student-athletes last year,” Mullins said. “But with the four student-athletes we brought into the program, we felt like the team was right where it needed to be and has the potential to achieve all of our goals this year.”

German Henri Junghänel highlighted the newcomer class, along with star freshman Emily Holsopple, a native of Pennsylvania. Fellow newcomers Dayna Ferguson and Ed Ryznar rounded out the newcomers, with Ryznar quickly become an impact transfer from the Philadelphia College of Science.

Halfway through the season, it is clear that Mullins had a reason to be optimistic, as UK’s newcomers have joined hands with a solid corp of veterans, leading the Wildcats to a 6-1 start to the season, with the lone blemish coming in a loss to TCU in Fort Worth, Texas, the defending NCAA Champions.

UK opened the season with a win over state-rival Murray State on Oct. 22, before posting a great score in a win over Army at UK’s Barker Hall on Oct. 24. After a tri-match win over Ohio State and N.C. State and a win over UT Martin, UK traveled to TCU to face the Horned Frogs, suffering a narrow four-point loss, before rebounding with a win over powerhouse Nebraska.

“Halfway through the season, we are really pleased with where we are at,” Mullins said. “Our newcomers have really stepped up to fill some voids left by graduated shooters and we feel like we have a team that can compete for the national title. We are really excited to get back on the range during the spring semester and work hard at achieving our goals.”