Rifle Begins 2024 Schedule Saturday at Army, Sunday vs. Nebraska
LEXINGTON, Ky. – As the calendar turns to 2024, the University of Kentucky rifle team begins the second stretch of regular-season competition, traveling to West Point, New York this weekend for dual matches at Army and vs. Nebraska on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
The action starts Saturday as Kentucky takes on Army inside the Tronsrue Marksmanship Center at West Point. Sunday, Kentucky will take on Nebraska in a neutral-site dual match in the same facility. Live targets and a NCAA Scorecard are available both days online at UKathletics.com. Both matches are scheduled to start at 9 a.m. ET.
“Excited to get the 2024 portion of the schedule underway,” UK head coach Harry Mullins said. “I was very proud of how we ended the season up in Alaska with some good performances and look forward to seeing how we can continue that momentum into 2024. We know the regular season is all about getting better and perfecting our craft as we head into the GARC Championships and NCAAs. It will be great to be back in the range with the team this weekend.”
Kentucky is coming off its best performance of the season in its last match, posting a season-high team score of 4745 in a tri-match with both Alaska-Fairbanks and Akron in Fairbanks, Alaska. It was a career day from fifth-year senior Emmie Sellers, who set career highs in both smallbore and air rifle for a new career-high aggregate. Kentucky scored a season high score in both disciplines, posting a 2357 in smallbore and 2388 in air rifle for the high aggregate. The season-high mark surpasses the previous season high of 4727 secured in the season opener vs. Morehead State.
Kentucky’s 2357 smallbore was the sixth-highest smallbore score in the nation this season as the Wildcats are one of only two teams in the nation to score a 2357 or higher in smallbore this year. UK’s 2388 in air rifle tied the third highest team score in the discipline this season and UK is one of only three teams with an air rifle team score of 2388 or higher. The 4745 aggregate tied the fifth-highest team score in the nation this season as only UK, TCU, Alaska-Fairbanks and WVU have hit 4745 or higher.
Sellers was the star in the second relay for Kentucky, scoring career-high marks in both smallbore and air rifle. She scored an impressive 588 in smallbore thanks to a perfect 200 in prone, marking the third-straight match that she has upped her career-high smallbore score. In air rifle, Sellers scored a 598, which also was a career best and was just two shots off a perfect 600. The two strong scores earned her a 1186 aggregate, which also is a career high and placed her fourth individually at the match.
Sophomore Sofia Ceccarello was fantastic in both disciplines, scoring a 591 in smallbore and 599 in air rifle. This was the fifth 599 of the year in air rifle for Ceccarello, who is the only athlete in the nation to have five or more 599s in air rifle. Her two high scores total a 1190 aggregate, which tied for the highest individual score of the match. Freshman Braden Peiser and sophomore Martin Voss also excelled in smallbore in the first relay, scoring high marks. Peiser posted a 589, including a 199 standing, which is an outstanding score in the hardest of the smallbore positions. Peiser ended his day with a 595 air rifle for a 1184 aggregate, which was good for sixth overall at the match. Voss tied a career high and set a new season high in smallbore with a 589 and followed with a 583 air rifle for a 1172 aggregate.
Ceccarello leads Kentucky this season in both smallbore average and air rifle average. She is averaging a 588 in smallbore and 598.571 in air rifle for an aggregate average of 1186.571. Sellers is right behind her averaging 584.714 in smallbore, 593 in air rifle and a 1177.714 aggregate, while fellow fifth-year senior Jaden Thompson is third on the squad in aggregate average at 1175.428 with a 581.714 in smallbore and 593.714 in air rifle. Peiser is earning a 582 in smallbore and 592.714 in air rifle for a 1174.714 aggregate, while Voss is posting a 584.143 in smallbore and 587.143 in air rifle for a 1171.286 aggregate. Buesseler is earning a 580.286 in smallbore and 590.286 in air rifle for a 1170.572 aggregate average. Junior Kayla Kalenza, sophomore AJ Hotko and freshman Emily Marne are all having good seasons. Kalenza is averaging 570.5 in smallbore and 588 in air rifle, while Hotko is earning a 567 in smallbore and 586.5 in air rifle and Marne a 556.25 in smallbore and 566.5 in air rifle.
As a team, Kentucky is averaging a 2342.86 in smallbore and 2379.29 in air rifle for an aggregate average of 4722.14.
Army is averaging 2323.67 in smallbore and 2355.67 in air rifle for an aggregate average of 4679.33. Anusha Pakkam is leading the team with a 582.5 in smallbore and 592.667 in air rifle. Fellow UK national champion and All-American Richard Clark is now an assistant coach for Army.
Nebraska is averaging a 2333.33 in smallbore and 2375.17 in air rifle for an aggregate average of 4708.50. Cecelia Ossi leads the team with a 585.667 smallbore average and 594.833 air rifle average.