No. 2 rifle team finishes NCAA qualifiers

Chalice Keith/The News
Seniors Kaitlyn Wilson from Boswell, Pennsylvania and Hannah Harris from New Albany, Indiana, and freshman Eric Sloan from Oakdale, Connecticut, all kneel for their qualifier shots Saturday.Chalice Keith/The News Seniors Kaitlyn Wilson from Boswell, Pennsylvania and Hannah Harris from New Albany, Indiana, and freshman Eric Sloan from Oakdale, Connecticut, all kneel for their qualifier shots Saturday.

Story by Sarah Combs, Staff writer

Chalice Keith/The News Seniors Kaitlyn Wilson from Boswell, Pennsylvania and Hannah Harris from New Albany, Indiana, and freshman Eric Sloan from Oakdale, Connecticut, all kneel for their qualifier shots Saturday.

Chalice Keith/The News
Seniors Kaitlyn Wilson from Boswell, Pennsylvania and Hannah Harris from New Albany, Indiana, and freshman Eric Sloan from Oakdale, Connecticut, all kneel for their qualifier shots Saturday.

The No. 2 ranked Rifle team shot an aggregate of 4,715 on Sunday’s NCAA Qualifiers at the Pat Spurgin Rifle Range.

Scores from the weekend are as follows:

  • Freshman from Gais, Switzerland Barbara Schläpfer led the day with a 1,183 aggregate.
  • Sophomore from Manhattan, Montana Ivan Roe followed close behind with a 1,182 aggregate.
  • Freshman from Fairhaven, Massachusetts, MacKenzie Martin finished with an aggregate of 1,175.
  • Senior from Ozark, Missouri Tessa Howald finished 1,172
  • Sophomore from Ozark, Missouri Ben Estes followed with an aggregate of 1,170.

The Racers wait on Thursday’s conference call to see if they will receive one of the eight invitations to the 2016 NCAA Rifle Championship.

Head Coach Alan Lollar said the team plans to prepare for the championship just like any regular match. The team’s success derives from their consistency and ability to practice like they plan to perform and holding themselves to a higher standard every time they shoot.

“We will do exactly the same thing we have done since August,” Lollar said. “Our success has come down to being able to compete the way we train.”

In rifle, there are five shooters (or counters) that are named and the top four scores of those five are the scores that count towards the total. Those five interchange and any of them could be top four at any given time. Lollar says the depth of their team aids in their success.

Waiting for a bid in rifle is different than most sports, said Lollar. At the end of the season everything is verified by the NCAA Committee.

During the conference call Thursday they will make sure that they select the right people by sending in paper targets or computer files of targets shot so the NCAA Committee can see the scores. Then the OVC coaches will approve or disapprove scores entered by the host team – making sure everything is correct is one of the most essential parts of selecting the first eight teams.

The NCAA Rifle Championship allows 48 competitors; eight five-man teams and eight individuals, four in small bore and four in air rifle. The individual scores come only from the NCAA Qualifiers match and not the rest of the season like the team aggregate scores. Lollar said it’s important to make sure the scores are correct so the right individuals are selected.

Lollar is optimistic about the upcoming championship and boasts confidence in his team.

“My stated goal every year is to play on the last day of the season,” Lollar said. “If you’re playing on the last day that means you’re playing for the championship.”

The 2016 NCAA Rifle Selection Show will be available live at 4 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 25 on NCAA.com.