In its first match back from Winter Break, the rifle team shot two wins, scored above its average and had a guest appearance.
Head Coach Alan Lollar brought the players back from the break a week early to train for their matches against Columbus State on Jan. 10 and UT Martin on Jan. 11. Both matches put the Racers scoring two points above their usual average smallbore score and eight points above their average air rifle score.
“I was really happy with the way they came back,” Lollar said. “To come and shoot at the level they did showed they were serious about training and worked hard on their own.”
UP AND COMING FRESHMAN
The Racers shot their best scores since the season opener. Shooting an aggregate score of 4,667 put the team five points from their season best of 4,672. Ivan Roe, freshman from Manhattan, Mont., led the team with a high of 582 in smallbore and 593 in air rifle, which tied his career-high in smallbore and made a personal best in air rifle.
“I think all three of the freshman want to do the best they can,” Lollar said. “The commitment is priceless. You can’t make somebody want to do that. For them to have that drive and commitment and work hard every morning is really good to see.”
Roe got a feel for the sport from the Manhattan High School BB Club team. Roe’s scores put him notching a score as high as the fourth-year Racer senior, Kelsey Emme. Roe said he never expected to do as well as his record shows because of his young age. The team strives to do better than the next person–always working toward their best.
“It’s like an undergrowth,” Roe said. “When a forest burns down there is always something new and better to grow back.”
Roe was named the Murray State Pepsi Athlete of the Week Jan. 5-11.
PLANS FOR THE SEASON
Lollar said every week the goal of the team is to be consistent. He said training as if every practice is a match helps the team feel comfortable in other environments.
“When you first start playing a new instrument, you’re bad,” Lollar said. “The instrument doesn’t change but your repetition and how many times you’re doing that does. You only get better if you make the effort to do it right.”
Something of a surprise to the Racers last weekend was a visit from President Bob Davies. Lollar said in his eight years coaching this is the first time he remembers having a president visit the Pat Spurgin Rifle Range.
“It is wonderful having a president come visit,” Lollar said. “It means a lot to the shooters because they know he’s interested and just that helps everything.”
Roe said it was to his shock that Davies was ready to greet the team as the came off the range line.
“It was cool to show our president what we can do,” Roe said. “We got off the line and he greeted us telling us we did well. You don’t get that every day and it meant a lot to us.”
The Racers travel to Fort Benning, Ga., Saturday to face Columbus State and to Jacksonville, Ala., to face Jacksonville State on Sunday.
“I think if this weekend reflects anything like we’ve been shooting in practice then we’ll surprise a lot of people,” Roe said.
Story by Kelsey Randolph, Assistant Sports Editor