Racer rifle reloads for spring season

Murray State scored an aggregate of 4,625 to beat No. 16 Columbus State and No. 20 UT Martin. The Racers were ranked No. 8 in the Collegiate Rifle Coaches Association Preseason Poll. || Photo courtesy of Sports Information

This semester has had its ups and downs.

After opening the season as the ninth ranked rifle team in the nation – according to the College Rifle Coaches Association top 20 poll – Racer rifle now sits at No. 12. The Racers are coming off a third-place finish at the Buckeye Open and a fourth-place finish in the Gamecock Invitational at Jacksonville State.

Head Coach Allan Lollar said he was pleased with the way the team competed while handling the rise and fall of the season.

“I’m pretty pleased (with the finish),” Lollar said. “After Ohio State, it was good to get back on the range, let them get some confidence back and get the feel for some good things happening.”

Freshman Katarina Bisercic shot a personal best 593 in air rifle, tying for first in the event. Junior Kelsey Emme finished in the top 10 in smallbore with a 576, while sophomore Tessa Howald had a top 10 finish with a 587 in air rifle.

“We had a few hiccups along the way that hurt us a little bit score-wise but really didn’t take away from the fact that we competed well and that they had trained well in the two weeks leading up to that event,” Lollar said.

He said the team will take a break and train at home over the holidays. It will come back the first week in January to prepare for the Feb. 11 match against Columbus State and North Carolina State.

While the Racers finished No. 12 in the country and beat two top-five teams, Lollar said there is still work to be done in order to make a run in the spring.

“It’s been up and down,” he said. “We need to be more consistent. I think we have a good attitude and the effort has been there. We just need a little more consistency at a little higher level and I think we’ll be fine.”

Lollar said the team has trained hard and has put themselves into a good position to compete in the spring.

After their last tri-match of the season to kick off the spring, the Racers will face Army and Kentucky before hosting the Withrow Invitational at Pat Spurgen Rifle Range.

They will then have five home matches in a row, including the OVC Championships, the NCAA qualifier and NCAA Championships.

Lollar said he and the squad are focusing on the next set of matches.

“We talk about building momentum,” he said. “We try not to get ahead of ourselves. You build momentum a little at a time through training and a week at a time through matches.”

He said they are making sure to take the spring season one step at a time.

“We’re not really talking about the end because there are too many steps to take between now and then,” he said. “We’re mostly just talking about doing the best every day in training and competing at your best in the matches.”

 

Story by Nick Dolan, Assistant Sports Editor