FAIRBANKS, Alaska -- The Kentucky rifle team looks to remain unbeaten during the 2011-12 fall season, traveling to Fairbanks, Alaska, for two matches, facing Air Force on Saturday and Alaska-Fairbanks on Sunday.
“We are very excited to get back on the road,” UK head coach Harry Mullins said. “Training has been going well this week and we are looking forward to testing ourselves once again on the road. I feel that we got some of the kinks out on this last trip. First road trip of the season always has some bugs to it.”
Kentucky (5-0, 3-0 Great American Rifle Conference) is coming off a dual-match win over Ohio State and Murray State in Columbus, Ohio, last weekend. The Wildcats posted a season-low 4664 total team score in the dual-match win, their first match since setting an NCAA record with a 4711 total team score in a league win over Memphis.
“Shooting against Air Force on Saturday and UAF on Sunday will make for two great matches,” Mullins said. “They are both very quality programs. We have not competed against Air Force in a few years and they are hot on the trail of getting into the final eight in the NCAA championships. They have a great staff and a supper group of shooters.”
The Wildcats have been led by Henri Junghanel, who leads UK with a 585.50 average in smallbore and a 591 average in air rifle. Emily Holsopple has added a 591.67 average in air rifle, while Stacy Wheatley leads the team with a 591.75 average in air rifle. Holsopple has charted a 583.72 average in smallbore.
“The UAF match is always a special competition,” Mullins said. “There is a lot of tradition among the two programs. From the wins and losses standpoint UAF probably has the edge over the past 15 years. They are a great team and have a tremendous amount of talent on the team. They are hungry to establish themselves again in the top three spot in the polls and doing it against us would make it that much sweeter for them.”
UK will conclude its fall portion of the season with the two matches in Alaska, before returning to action in the spring semester, traveling to TCU on Jan. 21.
“In order for us to hit the numbers we are looking for we are going to have to stay focused on the plan that we set,” Mullins said. “I feel that this slipped away from some folks the last match. Yet going into the last two matches of the fall I feel that the team should be ready to perform at the level in which we have been training. We have seen some really good things on the range lately and I think the team is ready to bring that out in the matches. We are just going to have to take it one match at a time there and see how the numbers turn out at the end. Yet I feel the team is ready for the trip.
“It is always exciting going on a long trip like this,” Mullins said. “We are looking forward to another series of tests. If we stay focused on the work we have been doing on the range I feel we will like the test results.”