Rifle Team Has Solid Showing at Catspy’s
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Fresh off claiming the Great American Rifle Conference Championships in undefeated fashion, the Kentucky rifle team posted a solid showing at the fifth-annual CATSPY Awards, held Tuesday night at Rupp Arena.
“The CATSPY Awards are always a highlight of the season and this year was no different,” Kentucky head coach Harry Mullins said. “It always presents an opportunity to honor the student-athletes for all their hard work and dedication throughout the year.”
Mullins, who was named the Men’s and Women’s team Coach of the Year, joined Tom Csenge, Jen Pason, and T.J. Harris as members of the rifle team to be either nominated or to win the award. Pason and Csenge were each nominated for the Female and Male Rookie of the Year awards, respectively. Harris was nominated for two awards, the Community Service Award and the Character Award, winning the Community Service Award.
“Those student-athletes epitomize what the term student-athlete should be,” Mullins said. “Tom and Jen were vital pieces of our success this season and their hard work and dedication was second to no one in the nation. They have a drive and determination to succeed that makes coaching them incredible and I am just honored to have witnessed their success.”
Pason, the GARC Rookie of the Year, had an excellent rookie campaign, leading the squad in several categories. Csenge, who narrowly missed the GARC Rookie of the Year honors to fellow teammate Pason, remained a fixture in the Wildcat lineup and posted solid, consistent scores throughout the season. Both Csenge and Pason competed in the Junior Olympics, with Csenge winning the air rifle division and placing second in smallbore. Freshman Ashley Jackson, Andrew Roland, and senior Amy Sowash all made the U.S. National Development team, further increasing the successes of the 2006-07 rifle team. Csenge, Pason, Leslie Angeli, Andrew Roland, and Ashley Jackson competed in the Junior Olympics after the NCAA season. Csenge won the men’s air rifle division and placed second in men’s smallbore. Freshman Ashley Jackson won the women’s air rifle, while Roland placed third in men’s smallbore. Roland and Csenge renewed their spots on the US National Development team and Amy Sowash and Ashley Jackson were selected for the team for their first time.
“T.J. is a quiet leader, he isn’t looking for any pats on the back for all the community service he does,” Mullins said. “He has a heart that motivates him to give back to the community and his efforts truly make him deserving of this award. He has gone through tremendous changes since arriving on our campus as a freshman. He has made the change from an 18-year old freshman to a mature, well-rounded young man and that is what any coach, in any sport, wants to see happen to their athletes. He is ready to go out and be a productive member of the community and I am so proud to have coached him these last four years.”
While Mullins may have won the Coach of the Year honors, he is quick to point out that all of the team’s success is accomplished by the individual team members.
“This squad worked so hard all season long,” Mullins said. “I can coach them all I want but it takes the student-athletes to have the drive to succeed in the pressure situations on the range. That coach of the year award belongs to the team, in honor of all their hard work and efforts. Without their hard work and drive to be successful, we would not have reached the heights that the team achieved last season.”