Story by Tyler Long, Contributing writer
Following a record-breaking home tri-match win against Morehead State and Jacksonville State on Saturday, the Murray State rifle team moved into a tie for first with West Virginia.
The latest Top 20 Rankings released by the Collegiate Rifle Coaches Association marks the first time in Head Coach Alan Lollar’s nine seasons that the Racers have held the top spot.
“We’ve been training really well, and we expected to shoot well,” Lollar said. “It takes four to five shooters shooting well together at the same time and any time that happens you have a chance to break records.”
The rise in rank comes as the Racers prepare for the Buckeye Open Saturday in Ohio.
Lollar said the team has been training efficiently enough to feel optimistic about the outcome of future games, but said there is more concern when competing at an away game versus competing at a home game.
“Shooting well on the road is at least two-thirds of your regular season qualifying score, shooting on the road is very important,” Lollar said. “That’s what we’ve got to do for the next two weeks and that’s to carry the momentum that we have now and shoot well on the road.”
Ryan Limpus, senior from Franklin, Tennessee, is excited about moving forward in the season and said he believes the broken records are motivation for an already strong team.
“Right now our second team shot a 4,630, which my freshman year would have won OVC championships,” Limpus said. “The first team shot over a 4,700, which has always been a goal for me. I wanted to be a part of a team that did that, and I always knew we could.”
Limpus said shooting rifle attracted him because of the mental trials associated with being successful at the sport. Limpus said while some may not see rifle as an athletically stimulating sport, it is just as challenging as any other sport.
“I like the technical aspect of it, all of the intricacies of building a position, finding the shot and releasing the shot,” Limpus said. “Staring at a target for two hours is a lot of concentration.”
Both Lollar and Limpus agree that the key to being successful at rifle or any sport for that matter is dedication and motivation.
“Our goal is to come in here each day and offer the same effort that we would give at any match day and any match day to offer the best that we have,” Limpus said. “Our main goal is to shoot as well as we possibly can.”
As the Racers prepare for another match Saturday, Lollar said his main goal for the team is to shoot the way they were trained and do the best they can.
“We’re training well right now, and we want to compete the way we train,” Lollar said.