LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Newcomers Emily Holsopple and Henri Junghänel had standout performances in air rifle, leading the Kentucky rifle team to a 4675 total team score in the NCAA Qualifying Round, held on Saturday at UK’s Barker Hall.
Kentucky (10-1) shot the qualifying round on Saturday, along with in-state foe Morehead State. UK’s 4675 total team score clinches a berth in the NCAA Championships, to be held the week of March 9 in Columbus, Ga.
“This was a learning opportunity for a young team,” UK head coach Harry Mullins said. “The experience the team got today will benefit them tremendously in the future. We know we have the potential and personnel there to put up the best score in the nation, we just need to keep climbing towards our goal of the NCAA Championships. We are learning to be consistent and that we have to have a collective team effort.”
The team will return to action on Feb. 26, returning to Oxford, Miss., for the Great American Rifle Conference Championships, hosted by Ole Miss. The Wildcats won the GARC regular-season championship with a win over No. 1 West Virginia on Feb. 5 in Lexington.
“It's always hard to come off a big weekend like we had last weekend,” UK assistant coach Stacy Underwood said. “Although this match was an important part of qualifying for NCAA’s, I think the team didn't feel as much pressure as our last match. Good news is we have a week to crank up the intensity and tweak a few things before our conference.”
Junghänel led the way in air rifle with a 595, while Holsopple contributed at 593 in air rifle. Heather Greathouse added a 582 in air rifle, with Ethan Settlemires and Logan Fox each tallying a 582 in air rifle.
In smallbore, Junghänel led the team with a 584, with Greathouse totaling the second-best score on the club, a 582. Holsopple added a 579, with Fox contributing a 578 and Settlemires a 574.
Individually, Megan English had a standout performance in air rifle with a 587.
“I think this is one of the best prepared teams we have had since I've been here,” Underwood said. “It says a lot about our team’s commitment to do whatever is asked of them. I am very excited to watch this team compete for the rest of the season.”