LEXINGTON, Ky. – Behind a school-record air rifle performance from sophomore Emily Holsopple, the No. 2 Kentucky rifle team posted a school-record team score in a 4711-4633 win over conference foe Memphis, on Sunday at UK’s Barker Hall.
“I am really excited for the team,” UK head coach Harry Mullins said. “They have been working hard these past few months and for them to come up with this performance in a conference match is great. They accomplished this on pure team effort. Nobody gave in and everybody worked every shot to the best of their ability. It makes me feel proud to have such a group of young athletes that are willing to give there all every time out.”
Kentucky (3-0, 3-0 Great American Rifle Conference) rode the dominating performance from Holsopple, who set the new UK school record with a 597 score in air rifle. With a 4711 total team score, UK set a new school record, eclipsing the previous record of 4700, set during the 2010-11 NCAA Championships. UK finished with a 2339 total team score in smallbore, also setting a new school record.
“Watching them compete today was a pure pleasure,” Mullins said. “When they are on their game like they were today it is one of the most exciting things to watch for a coach. I could not be happier for the entire group. The work they have done deserves a reward like the number they put up today. As their coach, it makes me very proud to see them break through that 4700 number. Today is a day we can cherish. It is a reward for the hard work.”
Holsopple was the brightest star, posting a school-record 597 in air rifle to accompany a 587 in smallbore. UK also got another breakout performance from Stacy Wheatley, who fired a 596 in air rifle to equal the school record set by Henri Junghänel in 2010-11 that was broken by Holsopple on Sunday. Wheatley added a 583 in smallbore and owns a 592, 590 and 596 in air rifle in her first three matches of the year.
“Seeing the intensity that they brought to the range today makes the coaching staff very excited for the rest of the reason,” Mullins said. “The focus and determination that they have displayed so far will make for an exciting season if we can maintain the level of performances.”
Junghänel finished with a 587 in air rifle and a club-best 589 in smallbore, with his smallbore score setting a new school record. Ethan Settlemires, the 2010-11 NCAA Shooter of the Match after winning the NCAA Championship in smallbore last year, fired a 592 in air rifle and a 580 in smallbore.
Heather Greathouse helped round out the starting lineup with a 586 in air rifle and a 569 in smallbore.
James Jasis and Ethan Ellis set their new career highs in smallbore, with Jasis firing a 578 and Ellis a 580.
Kentucky returns to action on Nov. 12 with two matches in Columbus, Ohio, facing Ohio State and Murray State.