No. 3 Kentucky Wraps Up NCAA Qualifiers
Feb. 17, 2013
LEXINGTON, Ky. - The Kentucky rifle team wrapped up competition at the NCAA Qualifiers on Saturday, shooting a 4697. The Wildcats opened the day with a 2330 in smallbore before shooting a 2367 in air rifle.
"It wasn't a bad team score," UK head coach Harry Mullins said. "Obviously we wanted to break the 4700 barrier but we had some good performances. Our smallbore is staying consistent, in the 2330s, and that's good to see. I think we have potential to improve on the 2330 we shot."
Senior Henri Junghänel tied a previous season-best 197 in kneeling en route to his 588 in smallbore but junior Emily Holsopple bested the season-high in kneeling for Kentucky with a 199. Holsopple finished smallbore with a 584.
Creating a resume to be selected individually for the NCAA Championships, sophomore Elijah Ellis and senior Stacy Wheatley delivered personal bests in smallbore on Saturday. Ellis posted a 583, with Wheatley shooting a 586.
"Elijah and Stacy both stepped up in the Qualifiers," Mullins said. "It was great to see their work pay off and come to fruition when it mattered."
Kentucky saw a strong team effort in air rifle, with all five counters shooting a 587 or better. Junghänel led Kentucky with a 594 while freshman Connor Davis contributed a 593. Aaron Holsopple posted a 593 in air rifle, a season best for the junior.
"I thought we worked real hard," Mullins said. "It's always tough to come off an emotional victory, breaking 4700 and it happened to be against West Virginia. Working and performing at that level again is much tougher than people think. But we definitely have room for improvement and I think everyone would agree."
Kentucky's 4697 will contribute to 50 percent of its weighted average that decides which teams qualify for the NCAA Championships, with the remaining 50 percent coming from an average of the team's top-three scores over the course of the season, with no two scores allowed to come from the same site.
The Wildcats will learn their postseason fate on Wednesday, February 20th, during the National Collegiate Rifle Selection Show on NCAA.com at 5 p.m. ET.
Kentucky returns to the range next weekend, traveling to Oxford, Miss., for the Great American Rifle Conference Championships.
"We're excited to compete in the GARC Championships this weekend," Mullins said. "The setup is similar to the NCAA Championships so I think it will be good preparation for us."