Rifle finishes second

The Racer rifle team shot its way to two-second place finishes in the OVC Championships, coming up behind host, Jacksonville State.

“I thought Jacksonville State did a very good job,” said Head Coach Alan Lollar. “They did a good job and were an excellent host. The match went on without a hitch.”

Finishing with an aggregate score of 2,303 in smallbore, the Racers placed just eight points behind Jacksonville State who finished with an aggregate score of 2,311.

Murray State  was  in front of the UT Martin mixed men and women with a score of 2,295. In fourth was Morehead State shooting 2,292, then Columbus State at 2,246 and finally the UT Martin women 2,193.

On Saturday the Racers competed against four other schools in the smallbore category. Freshman Ben Estes led the Racers by tying his career-high at 583, which was one point from the smallbore high of the day.

Returning the next day to compete for air rifle, the Racers finished just 10 points shy of Jacksonville State with an aggregate score of 2,341, which made them only 18 points shy of the overall title.

Finishing in third place again was a mix of UT Martin men and women with a score 2,320. Five points behind Jacksonville State was Morehead State shooting a score of 2,315. In fifth place was Columbus State at 2,319 and finishing up were the women of UT Martin at 2,294.

“We’ve definitely shot better than we did this weekend,” Lollar said. “But it can be chalked up to those athletes who have never shot in a conference championships.”

Many athletes received awards for their accomplishments at the end of the OVC season,  even their coach, who was named Co-Coach of the Year for the third time in his nine years at Murray State.

With the NCAA Qualifiers at the Pat Spurgin Rifle Range just a week away, the Racers are preparing just as they have for any other match. Lollar said he doesn’t treat it any differently because they have matched up against these teams before and   it is on their home range it should give them a slight advantage of comfort.

“We’re learning to handle those big distractions,” Lollar said. “Regardless, I am proud of their effort. They worked hard and they competed extremely well. We just made too many mistakes.”

In order to qualify for the NCAA Championships, a shooter’s top three scores from different locations are averaged. At the NCAA Qualifiers the number they shoot is added to their average and only the top eight scorers are invited to the championships.

Qualifying Racers  will travel March 13-14 to Fairbanks, Alaska for the NCAA Championships.

Awards from OVC

Photo courtesy of Racer Athletics

Photo courtesy of Racer Athletics

Kelsey Emme (Sr.)

-All-Conference Second Team (Air rifle)

-All-Conference First Team (Smallbore)

Photo courtesy of Racer Athletics

Photo courtesy of Racer Athletics

Tessa Howald (Jr.)

-All-Conference Second Team (Air rifle)

Photo courtesy of Racer Athletics

Photo courtesy of Racer Athletics

Ivan Roe (Fr.)

-All-Conference First Team (Air rifle)

-All-Newcomer Team (Air rifle and smallbore)

-OVC Freshman of the Year

Photo courtesy of Racer Athletics

Photo courtesy of Racer Athletics

Robert Broadstreet (Fr.)

-All-Conference Second Team (Air Rifle)

-All-Newcomer Team (Air rifle)

Photo courtesy of Racer Athletics

Photo courtesy of Racer Athletics

Ben Estes (Fr.)

-All-Conference First Team (Smallbore)

-All-Newcomer Team (Air Rifle and Smallbore)

-OVC Smallbore Athlete of the Year

Photo courtesy of Racer Athletics

Photo courtesy of Racer Athletics

Alan Lollar (Coach)

-Co-Coach of the Year

Story by Kelsey Randolph, Assistant Sports Editor