Rifle Sits 3rd After Smallbore at NCAA Championships

Rifle Sits 3rd After Smallbore at NCAA Championships

by Evan Crane

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Sophomore Sofia Ceccarello and freshman Braden Peiser each made the individual final as the University of Kentucky rifle team posted a smallbore team score of 2338 on Friday, sitting third overall after the first day of competition at the 2024 NCAA Rifle Championships in Morgantown, West Virginia.

The national event began Friday with smallbore and will conclude Saturday with air rifle competition. An individual final in each discipline will conclude each day of competition. Action Saturday will start at approx. 9 a.m. ET. A NCAA.com live stream of competition will be available online Friday and Saturday along with live targets and a NCAA Scorecard.

Peiser and Ceccarello both made the individual smallbore final after strong showings in competition, finishing with the fifth and sixth highest scores, respectively. In the final, Pieser finished in sixth place, while Ceccarello finished fifth.

“Proud of how the team battled today,” said head coach Harry Mullins. “This was always a great competition and I we weathered some storms and learned a lot about ourselves today. We will get some rest and then get after it again tomorrow. Proud of Braden and Sofia for making the smallbore final.”

As a team, Kentucky scored a smallbore team score of 2338, which is good for third overall at the eight-team event. Peiser was the top performer for Kentucky with a 589, scoring a 196 in kneeling, 197 in prone and 196 in standing.  Ceccarello was right behind him at 588, posting an impressive 199 in kneeling and 198 in prone, but gave up more than usual in standing with a 193. Fifth-year senior Emmie Sellers scored a 583 with her best position being a 197 in prone, followed by a 194 in kneeling and 192 in standing. Junior Allison Buessseler wrapped up the scoring with a 578, earning a 194 in kneeling, 191 in prone and 193 in standing. Fifth-year senior Jaden Thompson scored a 577 with a 195 in kneeling, 197 in prone and 185 in standing.

West Virginia, who is hosting the event, leads following day one of competition with a 2353 smallbore. TCU was second at 2347, while Alaska-Fairbanks and Air Force join Kentucky in the top five.

Kentucky, which qualified fourth for the eight-team event, has won the national title four times – 2011, 2018, 2021 and 2022 – with six runner-up finishes. Last year, UK finished third overall marking the fourth time in the last five championships UK has finished on the podium for event. That does not include the 2020 Championship, which was canceled due to COVID-19. UK, which was hosting the national event that year, was undefeated and seeded No. 1 overall before the event was canceled. Overall, UK has 22 top-five finishes at the NCAA Championships, including six runner-up honors.

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

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