Kentucky Rifle Begins 2021 Season at No. 3 Ole Miss Monday
LEXINGTON, Ky. – After an impressive 2020 fall season that saw the Wildcats set a school-record team score behind several top individual performances, the No. 2 University of Kentucky rifle team is set to begin the 2021 season Monday at No. 3 Ole Miss.
The match vs. Ole Miss begins a six-match winter slate for the Wildcats. On top of competing in the Withrow Open at Murray State, the Wildcats will face Nebraska, Memphis, Ohio State and West Virginia. UK will also host an NCAA Qualifier and compete in the Great American Rifle Conference Championships.
In the fall, Kentucky competed in both in-person and virtual matches and had success in both formats. The Wildcats had three in-person matches, hosting NC State in a dual match before the Kentucky Long Rifle Match vs. Murray State and Morehead State. UK also traveled to Murray State for a dual match with the Racers.
In its three in-person matches, UK averaged 2348.67 in smallbore and 2372.67 in air rifle for an aggregate of 4721.33. Kentucky’s best score was a school-record 4735 at Murray State. UK scored a 4709 against NC State and a 4720 in the Kentucky Long Rifle Match.
Individually, sophomore Mary Tucker and junior Will Shaner led Kentucky in both disciplines. Tucker and Shaner each scored a 595 in smallbore during the in-person matches, which is the highest score in the nation this season. In air rifle, Tucker scored a perfect 600 during the Kentucky Long Rifle Match and has two other 599s to her name. Shaner’s season high was a 598 in air rifle becoming one of four shooters in the nation to score that score or better in an in-person match this fall.
Overall, Tucker averaged a 592.333 in smallbore and 599.333 in air rifle for an aggregate of 1191.666. Shaner was just behind her with a 591.667 in smallbore and 595.667 in air rifle for an aggregate of 1187.334. Junior Richard Clark is averaging a 582 in smallbore and 587.667 in air rifle, while senior Hailee Sigmon is posting a 581.667 in smallbore and 582.5 in air rifle. Sophomores Jaden Thompson and Emmie Sellers had good fall seasons with Thompson averaging 589 in air rifle while Sellers posted a 578 average in smallbore. Juniors Mitchell Nelson and Mason Joachim performed well with Nelson averaging a 585.5 in air rifle and Joachim a 578.333 in air rifle. Sophomore Mason Hamilton averaged a 578.667 in air rifle.
Ole Miss went 5-0 in the fall, defeating UT Martin, Memphis, Alaska Fairbanks, Ohio State and Nebraska. It’s top team score was 4730 against UT Martin in the season opener.
Following the match, Kentucky will return to action Friday, Jan. 22 by playing host to No. 11 Nebraska inside the Barker Hall Rifle Range. Live targets will be available online.
For more information on the Kentucky rifle team, visit UKathletics.com or follow UKRifle on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.