LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Coming off a pair of season-opening wins over Great American Rifle Conference foes Ole Miss and Nebraska last weekend, the No. 2 Kentucky rifle team returns to action with a home match against league opponent Memphis, set for Sunday at UK’s Barker Hall.
“I am looking forward to another good solid performance from the team,” UK rifle head coach Harry Mullins said. “This is another good test. I think we got our match legs last week with the opener. Now it is time to concentrate on the details. Memphis is a very talented group. I wouldn’t be surprised if they shocked the country and posted some real good numbers, going to West Virginia and then facing us. It will be a close match.”
Kentucky (2-0, 2-0 GARC) posted a season-opening win over Ole Miss last Friday, using strong outings from Stacy Wheatley and Emily Holsopple in air rifle, with Wheatley charted a career-best 592. On Sunday, UK again rode the hot hand of Wheatley, who fired a 590 in air rifle, with Henri Junghänel posting a 595 in air rifle.
“Looking forward to some continued success from our returnees and for our freshmen to break through some barriers and pick up some points,” Mullins said. “Overall, looking at the performances of what the team is going to do, we are looking for that to be high. This is our last home match of the fall and then we are on the road. We want to have a good solid performance to build some confidence before we hit the road. This is a good time to do that. We need to continue to build upon success. We need to continue to eliminate mistakes and keep working hard to get better every day. The team has been working hard so it is time to go out and earn the benefits of that hard work.
“Stacy broke through her air gun barrier that she worked up to last year,” Mullin said. “Not that it is a negative thing; she just fell shy of making All-America last year. To come out and break 590s over the weekend is really solid. She is going to work on her time management in smallbore and those numbers will come up as well.”
UK also got a strong outing from Katie Fretts in the win over Nebraska, posting a 596 in air rifle. Holsopple led UK in smallbore vs. Nebraska with a 584.
“Frettsy struggled to come out last weekend out of the gate and she really finished strong,” Mullins said. “I am looking for some of our guys, including Frettsy, to start out strong and finish strong. And have an overall solid match. It is hard early in the season to bring that intensity. We need to minimize the hiccups so it doesn’t cost us a lot of points.”
UK owns smallbore totals of 2315 (vs. Nebraska) and 2325 (vs. Ole Miss) through the first two matches. In air rifle, UK posted a 2354 vs. the Cornhuskers and a 2356 total vs. the Rebels.
“Smallbore scores aren’t as high as we want, but it is not as detrimental as you would think,” Mullins said. “We are very solid all around. A large portion of the team is in the 570s and some are in the 580s. It is just about eliminating mistakes. Having discipline in prone and eliminating wide shots in standing. We had some of our athletes perform very well in standing and then have a couple of hiccups. It is about building in time and diligence. We always want things today, not tomorrow, but we will continue to work at it and have patience and perseverance and build upon each performance. Our smallbore numbers will start to come together throughout the season and we will be very deep.”