LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Off to an unbeaten start to its 2011-12 season, the No. 1 Kentucky rifle team hits to road for its first away test, traveling to Columbus, Ohio, for a dual-match against Ohio State and Murray State, set for Saturday at the Lt. Hugh W. Wylie Range.
Kentucky (3-0, 3-0 Great American Rifle Conference) faces off with No. 13 Ohio State and No. 15 Murray State on Saturday. The Wildcats will face the two teams on Saturday, before embarking on a two-match swing through Fairbanks, Alaska, to face traditional power Alaska-Fairbanks. After the two matches in the great white north, UK will conclude its fall semester portion of the season, returning to action in January, 2012.
“It feels kind of strange not hitting the road until now, but we planned it that way during the summer,” UK head coach Harry Mullins said. “OSU and Murray are always really good match ups and they both have quality athletes. We are excited however to hit the road. I like getting the team out on the road and having them spend some more quality time together, rather than at home. In past this has always been a learning experience and I see it as the same this season. Only having to travel a few hours up the road is always nice for the first trip, yet the second one is just a little further.”
The Wildcats have posted dominating performances in their first three wins over Ole Miss, Nebraska and Memphis, with the win over Memphis boasted by an NCAA-record team score of 4711, eclipsing the previous record set during UK’s NCAA Championship performance last year in Columbus, Ga.
“The team has really been working hard these past two weeks since our last match,” Mullins said. “Coming of the NCAA record will be a strong test for us on how we will handle this. Those days are always very tough. Yet I think this team is always up for a challenge. We are looking for some really good performances for a lot of people. The team has put in a lot of hard work and I hope that their performances this weekend will reward them with good numbers.”
Kentucky has been led individually in smallbore by Henri Junghänel, who leads the team with a 584.33 average and is coming off a school-record 589 smallbore total vs. Memphis. Emily Holsopple ranks second on the club with her 583.33 smallbore average, while Ethan Settlemires – the defending NCAA individual champion in smallbore – is third on the team with a 578.67 average.
In air rifle, Holsopple owns a team-high 593.50 average through three matches, with Stacy Wheatley totaling a career-high 592.67 average and Junghänel a 590.33 mark in air rifle. Katie Fretts has a 587.67 average in air rifle, with Settlemires totaling a 586 average.
Ohio State (4-0) is coming off a 4607-4549 win over Morehead State on Oct. 30 led by Amanda Furrer’s 589 in smallbore and a 592 in air rifle.
“It is always good to get away from home and your comfort zone,” UK assistant coach Stacy Underwood said. “The newcomer’s enthusiasm to get out on the road for their first road match is contagious. It will be a good test run before we head up for a few tough matches in Alaska.”