Story by Alec Mullins, Contributing writer
The Murray State Rifle team dropped to No. 4 in the country for the second week, after previously being tied for first with West Virginia University.
Starting with a win at home over conference opponent Morehead State and Jacksonville State in a Tri-Match, the team shot 4714, breaking the school’s aggregate-score record. Barbara Schlapfer, freshman from Gais, Switzerland, posted the highest individual aggregate score in the nation with an 1185 combined performance.
The Racers then traveled to Columbus, Ohio, for the Buckeye Open hosted by Ohio State. Placing first overall, the Racers shot a combined score of 4699, the second best score in school history, to defeat then No. 4 Texas Christian and No. 8 Ohio State.
While in Columbus, the Racers claimed another victory against Morehead State.
Leading the team was freshman shooter MacKenzie Martin, from Fairhaven, Massachusetts, who shot a combined score of 1178. Head Coach Alan Lollar had high praise for her performance.
“I knew it was coming because she was training very well,” Lollar said. “There’s an ebb and flow of who is shooting well and it was her turn to pick up the team.”
The only loss of the stretch came against then top ranked West Virginia, in a match that ended 4697-4692. Losing by just five points, Lollar said he is still pleased with the way his team competed in a tough part of the schedule.
“We’ve had five matches in three weeks. This stretch was put together in order to test us, to force us to focus when we were tired.” Lollar said. “There are always things we can be doing to get better, but right now we are competing and performing well.”
Schlapfer said even after breaking various school records so far this season, the team is ready to improve upon their recent performances and set their sights higher.
“We know where our potential is. There are a few months until the NCAA Championship and we can work on some things,” Schlapfer said.
Being focused so intently on improving in every category has not only helped the team’s performance but brought them closer outside of the world of rifle.
“If you see us walking up to the range you can tell we are not just a few shooters who have shot together,” Schlapfer said. “We are really a team.”
The Racers will compete in their final match of the year at 9 a.m. Nov. 21 in Jacksonville, Alabama, facing the Jacksonville State Gamecocks in the final match of the regular season.
“We’ve got a week off to work on some of the small stuff,” Lollar said. “We’ll take our time and put it together for our trip to Jacksonville.”