No. 3 UK Rifle Finishes Third at NCAA Championships, Davis Wins Air Rifle Title
March 15, 2014
MURRAY, Ky. - With the University of Kentucky rifle team finishing second in air rifle and third overall at the 2014 NCAA Championships, sophomore Connor Davis claimed the individual air rifle title, becoming the first Wildcat to win an individual air rifle championship since gold medalist Nancy Johnson took first in 1994.
After sitting in fourth with a 2316 in smallbore on Friday, UK came back strong, posting the second-best air rifle number, 2359, to move up to third place with an aggregate score of 4675.
"Looking at the season as a whole, it's hard to not be pleased," UK head coach Harry Mullins said. "Is it disappointing to finish third when you set your sights on a championship? Yes. But I'm not looking at it like that. This team worked incredibly hard all year, things just didn't fall our way at the end and that happens."
In the team competition, Davis posted a 593, the third-best score of the day, qualifying him for the final. As the eight-shooter final began to narrow, Davis and Maren Prediger of West Virginia seemed destined for a duel.
Through 15 of 20 shots, Davis held a comfortable 154.6-152.3 lead but Prediger did not roll over. Prediger outshot Davis in four of the final five shots but the comeback effort fell short as Davis' built-up lead remained and the sophomore claimed the individual title 205.4-205.
"I'm very proud of Connor," Mullins said. "It was an exciting final; he really worked and stayed alive to continue to the next round. There is a lot more pressure with the new final format but that did not faze him. We'll celebrate for him and be excited for him because this is a great individual achievement."
Senior Emily Holsopple contributed Kentucky's second-best air rifle score, shooting a 590 to break 590 for the 12th time this season.
West Virginia won the overall title, adding a 2367 in air rifle to bring its aggregate score to 4705. Alaska-Fairbanks placed second, shooting a 2321 in smallbore and 2356 in air rifle to post a 4677 aggregate.
"I'm extremely proud of this team this season," Mullins said. "They have worked hard and that's all you can ask for. From here, we'll start to work toward next year in hopes of getting where we want to be overall."