Rifle continues to rise

Chalice Keith/The News
WITHROW INVITATIONAL: Senior Tessa Howald from Ozark, Missouri sets her sights during the Withrow Invitational on Saturday. Howald shot a 585 in small bore, which is a season high and a 589 in air rifle.Chalice Keith/The News WITHROW INVITATIONAL: Senior Tessa Howald from Ozark, Missouri sets her sights during the Withrow Invitational on Saturday. Howald shot a 585 in small bore, which is a season high and a 589 in air rifle.

Story by Sarah Combs, Contributing writer

Chalice Keith/The News WITHROW INVITATIONAL: Senior Tessa Howald from Ozark, Missouri sets her sights during the Withrow Invitational on Saturday. Howald shot a 585 in small bore, which is a season high and a 589 in air rifle.

Chalice Keith/The News
WITHROW INVITATIONAL: Senior Tessa Howald from Ozark, Missouri sets her sights during the Withrow Invitational on Saturday. Howald shot a 585 in small bore, which is a season high and a 589 in air rifle.

The Murray State Rifle team made strides with its home-range advantage this weekend leading to their win in the Withrow Invitational.

The weather conditions were cold, but that couldn’t cool off the Racers’ hot streak. It didn’t appear to affect their performance or phase them at all. With tough competition like No. 8 Nebraska, No. 9 Memphis, No. 12 Jacksonville State, No. 16 Ole Miss and No. 20 UT Martin, the Racers were still able to dominate and wrap up the weekend with a score of 4691.

“The weather hurt travel for some teams this year,” Head Coach Alan Lollar said.  “We still had a good field. I was happy with the way we shot.”

The second ranked Racers came out on top with an overall high score but they also left with new personal high scores.

Photo courtesy of Racer Athletics

Photo courtesy of Racer Athletics

“There was a lot of personal best scores shot this weekend,” Lollar said. “We were able to continue to hold our season average. Being consistent is big for us.”

The team competed without the presence of big-time player Ivan Roe. Roe traveled to Germany to compete in the Bavarian Airgun Championships. With the absence of Roe, however, the Racers didn’t miss a beat. Eight players had personal record days with four of those eight being career high scores.

“Bobby (Broadstreet) and Ryan (Limpus) had career days, really did a good job. Barbara (Schläpfer), Kenzie (Martin) and Tessa (Howald) were solid,” Lollar said. “We count on their consistency at a high level. Alathea (Sellars) really came through nicely in air rifle. Keri (Marlin) had a nice air rifle day and Kait (Wilson) shot some very good sling and air rifle.”

Chalice Keith/The News WITHROW INVITATIONAL: Freshman Alathea Sellars from Puryear, Tennessee kneels in position. Sellars shot a career high 594 in air rifle and a 576 in small bore.

Chalice Keith/The News
WITHROW INVITATIONAL: Freshman Alathea Sellars from Puryear, Tennessee kneels in position. Sellars shot a career high 594 in air rifle and a 576 in small bore.

With the OVC championship just weeks away, the Racers are preparing like they would for any other match. “We work to train exactly the way we want to shoot our match,” Lollar said. “If we can carry our training with us into the match we have the chance to perform our best. To this end, we focus on training exactly the way we want to shoot the match.”

Pepsi Athlete of the Week was MacKenzie Martin, freshman from Fairhaven, Massachusetts. Martin finished the weekend with 582 in small bore and 588 in air rifle for an 1,170 aggregate score.

The next stop preparing for the OVC championship is No. 3 ranked Kentucky and No. 9 ranked Memphis in Lexington, Kentucky Jan. 30.