Rifle adds new chapter to historic OVC rivalry

Freshman Ryan Limpus takes aim during a practice session. Limpus posted a career-best in air rifle Saturday. || Austin Ramsey/theNews

Freshman Ryan Limpus takes aim during a practice session. Limpus posted a career-best in air rifle Saturday. || Austin Ramsey/theNews

Taking on No. 4 Jacksonville State and No. 9, now No. 13, Ole Miss, the Racers shot a season high score of 4,651 last weekend, defeating Ole Miss and tying the Gamecocks.

The Racers lost the tie break, however, falling just one shot short of beating their OVC rivals.

“(The tie breaker) is the total number of center shots for the whole match,” said Head Coach Alan Lollar. “Center shots are, for lack of a better term, a high-grade 10. You’ve got the 10 ring that’s worth 10 points, and center shots are a better center shot. The match came down to us and JSU counting center shots and they had 253 center shots and we had 252. Out of 4,800 possible points from four shooters, we tied at 4,651 and they had one more center shot than we did. It’s the perfect example of why you can’t take one shot off.”

For the Racers, losing the tie breaker by one shot was heart breaking, but that single point will serve to motivate the team.

“Right now it just gives us motivation,” sophomore shooter Kelsey Emme, said. “But if it were to happen at the OVCs, that would not be good. The tie breaker was rough to go through, but we see them again every weekend from now until Thanksgiving, so hopefully we’ll intimidate them a little more. I think it’ll make us realize, though, that one point really does make a difference.”

For then No. 10 Murray State (now No. 5), the match was also a significant sign of improvement, lifting the Racers 26 points above their previous season best and also giving several individual shooters a chance to shine.

Emme managed her career best smallbore score with a 585. Freshman shooter Kaitlyn Wilson shot a career – high score as well with a 577. In air rifle, freshman Ryan Limpus added another career-high with a 571.

“I was really happy with this weekend,” Lollar said. “We were able to shoot much closer to the level we train at. Our consistency was much better. We followed match plan much better. We didn’t get shaken when we looked up and we were shooting good. There were just a lot of good things that happened this weekend.”

The weekend’s match was also a success for the Racers in that they gave the best in the conference, Jacksonville State, a run for their money.

“First of all, I think it’s great because we shot better than we’ve shot all year long,” Lollar said. “We knew they were good coming in and our whole goal was to compete with them and obviously we did. So our goal is to be right there and make it a tough match for them by the time we get to OVC. We’re still learning and they’re a very good team that’s well coached, so we’re very happy about where we were on Saturday.”

This weekend, the Racers will see both Jacksonville and Ole Miss again.

“We’ve got Ole Miss and Jacksonville this weekend. We’ve got Jacksonville State the next four weekends. We’re not going to back off from shooting against the best in the country and right now they’re one of the best. I think it speaks a lot for this team that we hung in with them on Saturday.”

Saturday the Racers will take their second trip of the season to Oxford, Miss., where they hope to avenge last weekend’s loss to Jacksonville State.

Story by Kyra Ledbetter, Staff writer.