LINCOLN, Neb. -- Ranked fourth in the nation, the Kentucky rifle team returns to action for its final road match of the 2009-10 season, traveling to Lincoln, Neb., to face off with the Nebraska Cornhuskers, Saturday at the NU Rifle Range.
Kentucky (7-3) will wrap up the road portion of the regular¬ season with the match at Nebraska. The Wildcats are coming off a two-match week that saw UK post a win at Army and fall to powerhouse Alaska-Fairbanks Saturday at Barker Hall.
“We are very excited to get back on the range and compete against a good Nebraska team,” UK head coach Harry Mullins said. “We have had some good training sessions in preparation and are eager to shoot some good numbers. It would be great to have a 4680 on the road that is what we are shooting for, so the team is really going to have to stay focused and work hard.”
The Wildcats will wrap up the regular-season with the match against Nebraska, before hosting the NCAA Qualifying Round at Barker Hall Feb. 13-14. Following the qualifying round, UK will travel to Oxford, Miss., to compete in the Great American Rifle Conference Championships Feb. 20-21. After the conference championships, UK will compete in the NCAA Championships, March 11-14 in Fort Worth, Texas.
Jen Pason, Sr.
On training in preparation for the match with Nebraska …
“We are using our past experiences to improve our shooting. We are pretty confident that we can post a good score because of the way training has been going. We have been working really hard this week.”
On traveling to face Nebraska …
“It is going to be a challenge, usually we compete in a 48-hour window so it is definitely difficult to travel and get enough rest to compete in the next day. When we are out on the line, we just pretend that we are at home. We like competing on the road better. It is usually because it creates a different atmosphere. You don’t have your school and academics on your mind. You get to step away from all that and have a chance to really compete at your best.”
On having a deep, talented team …
“Definitely people have been stepping up. It is due to our new approach to training. All of the team members have input in how to improve our training. Coach took our advice and we have been having a lot of success with that. We are doing more training drills and more competitive types of practice. A lot of times those kinds of activities really work well. People are using that in the way we approach, we are approaching competition differently.”
Ashley Jackson, Sr.
On the mindset entering the match with Nebraska …
“We have been working really hard after our last three matches. We have really found our weaknesses and we are focusing on improving those. We are coming out of the last week of practice really strong. We are looking forward to getting out to Nebraska and shoot our best, like we have been practicing last week.”
On the depth of the team …
“I think having so many people that are shooting so well, it is really pushing us and drives us to work hard and never let ourselves have a weak day. We are constantly pushing each other to do better and better. Having a really strong team with everyone competitive is definitely an advantage because we are just constantly striving to do better.”
On her improved performance as a senior …
“It is something that I have expected of myself. Last year at nationals I think coming in second really pushed me this year to do better. I knew that I could come into the year strong. It is about keeping pushing myself, helping my teammates and staying motivated. Personally I just strive and ask more of myself, I know I still have room for improvement. Every day is just constantly hard work.”
Tom Csenge, Sr.
On the mindset of the team heading into the Nebraska match …
“We are looking forward to this match. This is the last regular-season travel match for me and the rest of the seniors. Looking forward to getting up there and shooting against a good team. We have been making lots of improvements. We are all really excited to put up a big number up and finish the season strong here and get ready to go into the post-season.”
On having a team full of talented shooters …
“Having a lot of people shooting well is good. It makes it nice for everyone. It puts more pressure for everyone to get better. Everyone is working hard to be the best on the team, that helps to produce a lot of really quality shooters and that is helpful for winning matches. Some of these really close matches we can rely on our resources. We have a strong talent pool to pick from.”