NCAA Rifle Giants Meet in Morgantown
Nov. 20, 2009
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Off to a 5-1 start to the season, the Kentucky rifle team returns to action Saturday, traveling to Morgantown, W.Va., to face off with the defending NCAA Champion West Virginia Mountaineers, at the WVU Rifle Range.
“It is always exciting when these two schools get together,” UK 23rd-year head coach Harry Mullins said. “We have had a long tradition between the two schools and the match is always very competitive. I think both teams in the past few years really get pumped up for this match. Currently we are No. 2 and they are No. 1 so that kind of pressure will weigh heavy on us to perform well.”
Kentucky (5-1) will face WVU in a matchup of the two top teams in the country and the top two finishers at last year’s NCAA Championships, which was held in Fort Worth, Texas. Kentucky bested WVU in the regular-season meeting and the conference championships last season, before the Mountaineers sprang a solid score in the final day of competition at the NCAA Championships to win the NCAA title.
“More than likely it will come down to the last few shots in air and smallbore (Saturday) to see who comes out on top,” Mullins said. “We have prepared ourselves for the pressure, yet we still need to show ourselves that we can execute in a high pressure matches. Only time will tell if we are ready.”
The Wildcats are coming off a 4650-4614 win over Ohio State on Nov. 8 in Lexington. Kentucky has only one loss on the year, at setback at TCU on Oct. 17.
“West Virginia is a very high-quality program that deserves a lot of respect,” Mullins said. “We have been trying some new training methods that, with time, will pay off for us in the matches. Now it is just time to see if we went in the right direction. It will be a high-pressure nine hours for both coaches to sit through, yet that is what we live for.”
Kentucky will again offer the best in-match updates in collegiate rifle, despite competing on the road. UKathletics.com will offering an interactive live blog of the match, allowing fans to keep up with the action.
“This is definitely the big match we have been looking forward to,” said West Virginia fourth-year head coach Jon Hammond. “Kentucky is a tough team and matches up well against us. Training this past week has gone well, and I think this match will be our best test thus far.”
“This is always a great match,” UK assistant coach Stacy Underwood said. “It is a great way to end the fall campaign and set the stage for success in the spring.”
The tilt with WVU will mark the final match for UK of the fall season. The Wildcats will return to action Jan. 16, facing Army at West Point, N.Y.