Racer Rifle proved to be up to the task over the weekend as it defeated two top-five teams in Jacksonville State and Texas Christian.
The Racers (4-1) earned their second tri-match victory, outshooting the Gamecocks, ranked No. 3 coming in, 4658-4653 and the Horned Frogs, ranked No. 4, 4658-4650 at Pat Spurgen Rifle Range.
Murray State Head Coach Alan Lollar said moving forward this proves to his group of shooters they can win and maybe become one of the best teams in the country.
He said this win is a big deal because rifle is a individual sport.
Lollar said he and the shooters have to deal with what the team expectations are, and until they beat good teams, it’s hard to expect to beat those teams.
“Now they know that they can expect to compete and win against teams that are ranked higher than them in the polls,” Lollar said. “So, it’s a big deal for confidence.”
Sophomore Kelsey Emme finished first overall in both air rifle and small bore. She shot her season’s best in both disciplines as well, with scores of 592 in air rifle and 585 in small bore.
Freshman Katarina Bisercic followed Emme with her own season bests. Bisercic fired scores of 580 and 585 in small bore and air rifle, respectively, good for a second overall finish.
In small bore, senior Bill Harvey shot a 577, sophomore Tessa Howald finished at 571 and freshman Jack Berhorst rounded out the day with a 557.
Howald also finished eighth in air rifle with a season best of 587; Berhorst shot 579 along with senior Michael Burzynski to cap the Racers’ win.
Lollar said they were able to put their training and match performance together to get the result they wanted, something they can build off as they hit the road for the Buckeye Open at Ohio State Nov. 9.
“Sooner or later you have to have some success from your training,” Lollar said. “It validates what you’ve been doing and how you’ve been training.”
Lollar said the victories help the team understand that the things they are doing in practice and in matches is getting them better and is preparing them to compete.
He said another important thing to remember is the players never stay the same.
“You either get better or you get worse,” he said. “You always want to get better. It’s consistency and knowing they’re going to show up on match day. There will be other teams that are ranked higher than us again and it’s just the next step on the road to the end.”
Story by Nick Dolan, Assistant Sports Editor