After a month of practice, the Murray State rifle team nears its first match of the season. Under the looming cloud of two consecutive OVC championships, three freshmen join the Racers hoping to make an impact on the team sooner rather than later, as all three of Murray State’s new shooters will be squaded members of team come Saturday’s match at UT-Martin.
Regardless of any pressure the freshmen may feel, the last month of practice has gone on as usual.
“It’s been pretty much normal practice,” Coach Alan Lollar said. “Preseason we try to identify what we need to work on in order to get better. It’s a time when you’re away from match schedule and you can work on, for lack of a better word, weaknesses, and try to turn them into a strong point.”
When the Racers came back to Murray State from their summer breaks they didn’t lose any time in refreshing their skills. Instead they picked up almost exactly where they left off, a great comfort to both Lollar and his shooters, and may also offer the younger shooters an abundance of opportunities in the season to come.
“One of the things we wanted to do was come back after the summer off and be relatively close to where we finished,” Lollar said. “I think we’ve done a pretty good job of that. We’ve got a lot of young people that will be involved in traveling and competing with us this year and some people that haven’t been there. The travel squad’s wide open. It’s going to be interesting to see who ends up there at the end of the year.”
Freshman shooter Kirsten Moyer couldn’t agree more.
“Well, for us as a team it’s been going really well according to the numbers, with where we were last year compared to where we are this year,” Moyer said. “We’re starting off where we left off last year, so there’s only room for improvement.”
The freshmen, along with three other members of the team, will have the chance to make their first impression of the season this weekend at UT-Martin.
“It’s going to be big for the freshmen because all three of them are going to be squaded in this match,” Lollar said. “Because of the way the schedule fell I’m trying to give some people some time off because we’re going to have such a long run of matches here soon and because I wanted to take an opportunity early to let the freshmen feel like they’re a part of the team and compete.”
For those not in the know concerning rifle and the sport’s scoring practices and season, Lollar summed up both.
“We designate five squaded members for each gun for every match,” Lollar said. “Each gun is worth 600 points. Smallbore is 200 points in each position: prone then standing then kneeling. Air gun is worth 600 points all in standing position. The top four scores from smallbore and the top four scores from air rifle out of the designated five make up your team score. A team score is worth 2,400 points per gun and 4,800 points per team, aggregate.”
The length of the rifle season also contributes to the difference between rifle and every other sport on campus.
“Our season is a very long season, maybe the longest NCAA season,” Lollar said. “We’ll start Saturday and we won’t finish until the weekend before spring break. It’s very much a process. Our top three scores during the year are our qualifying scores, but they can be shot at any time and then we have another qualifier at the end, which is another 50 percent of our qualifying score. So it is a process of trying to get better and peaking at the right time. So early in the year is important as a foundation, but it doesn’t mean our year will be good or bad.”
INSIDE THE SPORT
•Co-ed teams, men and women compete
against each other
•Smallbore (.22 caliber)
•Prone (laying down), standing and kneeling positions
•Air (.177 caliber)
•Smallbore 50 feet
•Air 33.5 feet
•10.9, smaller than the period at the end
of this sentence.
•Prone, kneeling and standing, 20 shots
each worth 10 points each.
•Aggregate score- 600
•60 shots worth 10 points each
•Aggregate score- 600
• 2,400 points per discipline
•Team aggregate- 4,800
•10 OVC Championships
•7 NCAA Champions
•6 Hall of Fame members