Rifle Begins Postseason Competition Saturday at GARC Championships

Rifle Begins Postseason Competition Saturday at GARC Championships

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Postseason competition is finally here for the University of Kentucky rifle team as the Wildcats head north to West Point, New York to compete in the Great America Rifle Conference Championships on Saturday and Sunday.

The two-day event will mainly feature smallbore Saturday and air rifle Sunday although non-team countable individual performers will compete in both disciplines both days Competition both days is scheduled to begin at approximately 8 a.m. ET with an eight-finalist individual format to follow each day. Army, Akron, Memphis, Navy, Ole Miss and West Virginia will join UK at the event. Army is hosting the event inside the Tronsrue Marksmanship Center. Live stats will be available ukathletics.com.

Last season, Kentucky claimed the air rifle team title and star Sofia Ceccarello won the air rifle individual gold as UK finished third overall behind West Virginia and Ole Miss. UK claimed the conference tournament title for the seventh time in program history in 2022. The Wildcats have won two of the last four championships.

“This time of year is what you work all season for and I am excited to take this group to the GARC Championships,” UK head coach Harry Mullins said. “The GARC Championships are a great event and I know our athletes are looking forward to competing against all the other great squads here. I think we saw some good things last weekend at the qualifier and we can hopefully carry that over to this weekend.”

The Wildcats will travel fifth-year senior Emmie Seller and Jaden Thompson, junior Allison Buesseler, sophomores Ceccarello, Martin Voss and AJ Hotko and freshmen Braden Peiser and Emily Marne to the championships this weekend. Ceccarello leads Kentucky this season in both smallbore average and air rifle average. She is averaging a 587.917 in smallbore and 597.75 in air rifle for an aggregate average of 1185.667. She has posted five 599 scores in air rifle this season. Sellers and Thompson are right behind her and having good seasons. Sellers is earning 584.083 in smallbore and 593.75 in air rifle for a 1177.833 aggregate average, while Thompson is posting a 581.583 average in smallbore and 592.917 in air rifle for a 1174.500 aggregate average.

Peiser is earning a 583.417 in smallbore and 593.583 in air rifle for a 1177.000 aggregate. Peiser had his best match as a Wildcat last weekend, scoring career highs in both smallbore and air rifle for a 1191 aggregate. Voss is posting a 582.083 in smallbore and 589.667 in air rifle for a 1171.750 aggregate, while Buesseler is earning a 579.417 in smallbore and 592.333 in air rifle for a 1171.750 aggregate average. Hotko and Marne are having good seasons. Hotko is averaging 568.625 in smallbore and 586.25 in air rifle, while Marne is earning a 559 in smallbore and 569.889 in air rifle.

As a team, Kentucky is averaging a 2341.25 in smallbore and 2380.58 in air rifle for a season aggregate average of 4721.83. UK’s best score of the season came in Alaska in a tri-match with Alaska-Fairbanks and Akron, posting a 4745 with a 2357 in smallbore and 2388 in air rifle. UK scored a 4732 in its first match of 2024 at Army while its third-best score this season was the 4730 earned last week at NCAA Qualifiers. Kentucky is one of four teams in the nation this season with a smallbore team score of 2357 or higher, joining WVU, Navy and Air Force. UK’s season best air rifle score was the 2388 earned in Alaska, which is tied for the fifth-best mark in the nation this season.

Earlier this week, Kentucky qualified for its 30th NCAA Championships as the Wildcats were one of eight teams selected for the 2024 championship field. The national event will take place from March 8-9 inside West Virginia University’s WVU Coliseum in Morgantown, West Virginia. Individual and team competition in smallbore is scheduled for Friday, March 8 while air rifle competition will be on Saturday, March 9.

For more information on the Kentucky rifle team, visit UKathletics.com or follow UKRifle on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

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