Just because their first match is a month away does not mean the Racer rifle team is not actively pursuing excellence already.
“We are in a place now where it’s not as easy to improve quickly and patience will be a key,” Head Coach Alan Lollar said. “Small improvements from everyone will make a big difference in the team and that prospect is exciting.”
With the addition of three freshmen to the team that went 10-4 last season, senior Ashley Rose said she is refusing to think about the end.
“I’m really trying not to think about it as my last year,” the political science major said. “I feel it will create a mental block while I’m shooting so I’m trying to think this is just another building year, another shooting year with my team — it’s not the end.”
Despite the competition schedule spanning across the fall and spring semesters, Rose has her sights set on championships.
“I’m really looking forward to the NCAAs,” she said. “I know that will happen, I don’t have a doubt in my mind. We worked hard enough last year to get there and we’re going to work just as hard this year to get there.”
That kind of heart and passion is what makes Rose’s contribution to the program invaluable, Lollar said.
“The value of leadership, both in word and example, from your upperclassmen is priceless and that’s what she brings to the team, leadership in word and example,” he said. “She is my first recruit, she started it, and now we are trying to finish it right.”
Even though the anticipation for the end of the season hangs in the air, Rose is already mentally preparing for each match.
“I try to put all (competitions) on a level playing field so there is not varying amounts of pressure throughout the season and each match is the same,” she said. “Mentally I’m going into it correctly.”
Because of the potential in the shooters, Lollar said he might have to change his vocabulary to match the team’s success.
“Exciting?” Lollar asked. “If we train consistently at the level we are capable of, we might be looking for another word.”