Despite coming off a second-place finish at the OVC Championships, the rifle team was still not where Head Coach Alan Lollar wanted it to be.
Luckily for Lollar and the Racers, Ole Miss gave them another chance to get ready for this weekend’s NCAA Regional Qualifier at the team’s own Pat Spurgin Rifle Range.
Murray State took advantage of the chance, downing the visiting Rebels 4,649-4,610.
“I think (our team) did a good job,” Lollar said. “The good stuff that I took away from last weekend’s match against Ole Miss is that there weren’t any major problems. The score was pretty solid, pretty close to our better scores of the year.”
Lollar said the biggest thing he saw was nobody dropped points or had a bad string, as they all were consistent in their shooting.
Junior Kelsey Emme has been the model of consistency for the Racers this season and she kept up her leading ways, finishing tied for first overall in smallbore with 576 and taking third overall in air rifle.
Emme said competing with Ole Miss in between the OVC Championships and NCAA Qualifier served the team well.
“I think it was a good match for us to get calmed down and get set, just kind of get all our problems figured out,” she said.
Senior Bill Harvey tied Emme for first in smallbore and finished 10th overall in air rifle.
Sophomore Tessa Howald was the best shooter in air rifle, while also shooting 574 in small bore, good enough for fourth overall.
While the Racers closed out the regular season with a win, Emme said the team is ready for the next big challenge.
“I think as long as we can just keep our heads up and stay positive and know that we can do it this weekend, that’ll help a lot,” she said. “I’m pretty excited (to host the NCAA Qualifier and Championships) because we’ll get to have everyone here and get to watch the competition.”
Next up for Murray State is the NCAA Qualifier Feb. 22-23, and Lollar knows the team has not yet peaked this season.
“Last week was not the time that we need to be our best,” he said. “It was a good tune up and it did a good job at settling down some nerves. They have done a good job at training this week and I’m looking forward to good things this weekend.”
Story by Nick Dolan, Assistant Sports Editor