Emme shoots at NCAAs

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Photo illustration by Fumi Nakamura/The News
Sophomore Kelsey Emme looks at her shot.

She said other than cold weather, she enjoyed growing up surrounded by the close-knit community of Piedmont, S.D., a town of 220 people in the western part of the state.

Emme laughed when talking about her high school, home of the Sturgis (Biker) Rally.

“It was good, though,” she said. “There was a small-town feel everywhere.”

But her journey into the little-known sport of rifle began early on as a way to bond with her dad, Chris.

“My dad kind of got me into it,” Emme said. “It was kind of just a fun thing we did together. So I started doing that with my dad and then I started competing when I was eight years old. Then it just kind of went on from there to bigger matches as I went on.”

Emme transitioned to Sturgis Brown High School and added four more sports to her resume, lettering in basketball, softball, track and field and golf.

She said as she neared the end of her time as a Scooper at Sturgis High, she still was not 100 percent sure what she wanted to do after graduation, despite her 4-H smallbore state record.

“Even throughout high school I didn’t know quite what I wanted to do in college,” Emme said. “I had also been kind of looking at going to school on a golf scholarship, and then I just kind of sat back and went ‘okay, which one can I do everyday for the next four years,’ and I thought I could still shoot and still love it and get better and compete.”

Luckily for rifle Head Coach Alan Lollar, Emme decided to become a Racer. But, he was not without competition in her recruitment.

She was courted by multiple Division I programs coming out of high school, including now No. 3 Kentucky, No. 12 Mississippi and No. 4 Nebraska, but said Murray State was the only place for her.

“At the time, everything about Murray (State) just kind of appealed to me,” she said. “(Lollar) and the way he coaches helped me make that decision. Murray just really appealed to me because it had that small-town feel and that southern charm that it has. That’s what drew me here.”

The junior has been making a name for herself at Pat Spurgin Rifle Range since her arrival in Murray three years ago.

She was named to the All-OVC Smallbore Second Team and the OVC Newcomer Team in air rifle.

She also qualified to represent Murray State as the lone Racer at the 2011-12 NCAA Rifle Championships, and experience she said has been beneficial.

“(My first NCAA Championship event) has helped me even just in regular competition to see what I could do and what our team could do and where we could get to,” Emme said. “It has helped motivate me as well.”

In her second season, Emme expanded her horizons, being named a second team All-American in air rifle.

She was also an All-OVC First Team in air rifle and smallbore and she competed overseas.

Emme placed eighth in the Bavarian Airgun Championships held in Germany a year ago and said it was an eye opening experience on and off the range.

“It was a lot of fun,” she said. “You look up and you see a lot of big scores and you’re like ‘man, that’s really cool.’ Just getting to talk to those other shooters from other countries was really different.”

Now, after another award-winning year, Emme will once again be the sole Murray State representative at the NCAA Championships held at Pat Spurgin Rifle Range March 14-16.

She is ready to bring back some hardware for Murray State.

“I’m super excited, especially since it’s here, at Murray,” she said. “It’s going to be fun.”

 

Story by Nick Dolan, Assistant Sports Editor