For the second consecutive week, the Racer rifle team came away with a win, but the opponent its facing this weekend will challenge the team in a way that few other competitors can.
Last weekend the Racers placed fourth of fourteen in the Ole Miss Invitational, falling to only one OVC team, with Jacksonville State University shooting an aggregate score 12 points higher than Murray State.
Though they didn’t win overall, Head Coach Allan Lollar was optimistic.
“I thought we had a pretty good weekend,” Lollar said. “We did a lot of things right. We placed four shooters above 570 in smallbore, that’s always nice.”
Though the match was a good starting point, it left plenty to improve on, Lollar said.
“Air rifle was a little down,” he said. “We were not as consistent as we need to be. I thought we shot the sling positions at a good level for this time of the year. We expect to get better as we go along, but we started a pretty good place.”
Nevertheless, several of Lollar’s shooters had impressive showings at University of Mississippi last weekend.
“Bill (Harvey) had his second straight week with a personal best in air rifle with a 580,” Lollar said. “A really nice job, he’s showing more consistency and control this year. Katie (Cleven) had a nice air day with a 590.”
This Saturday the University of Alaska-Fairbanks will make a visit to the Pat Spurgin Rifle Range, after a shooter placed fifth last year in the NCAA air rifle championships.
“Alaska’s a very good team,” Lollar said. “They had a stretch where they won nine out of eleven NCAA Championships. They’re always in the top four or five and we always look forward to them coming in. They’re a chance to compete and measure what we’ve got going on.”
However infectious Lollar’s calm demeanor, it doesn’t seem to have spread to his shooters just yet.
“They get excited about any chance they get to shoot, but against the people that are normally the best in the country? It gets them going a little more,” he said. “We just try to get them in a comfort zone that allows them to focus on the shot instead of what’s going on around them or the shot.”
Lollar’s goal is not necessarily a certain score, but rather a certain effect on his shooters, he said.
“We’re trying to get them used to shooting against those people,” Lollar said. “That way if you’re lucky enough to get (the NCAAs), hopefully they’re not looking around wondering if they belong there.”
The Racers face off against Alaska-Fairbanks at 8 a.m. Saturday in the Pat Spurgin Rifle Range at Roy Stewart Stadium.