Story by Sarah Combs, Staff writer
Ivan Roe, sophomore from Manhattan, Montana, begins his Olympic preparation, aiming for a spot on the USA Olympic Rifle team.
Somewhere between classes, traveling and training for the NCAA Championships, Roe has earned a potential spot representing the USA Olympic Air Rifle Team in Rio de Janeiro during the summer.
If Roe is able to clinch the position, he will be seventh in all-time Racer history. The last time Murray State Rifle team experienced Olympic competition was in 2004 with Morgan Hicks.
Roe’s competitive rifle career began his senior year in high school. However, the dream began when his dad picked up a flier and signed him up for a BB gun safety course and shooting program at a local gun shop. Roe instantly fell in love with the sport and his love for the sport grew with his dreams.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to do the Olympic walk in the opening ceremonies.” Roe said. “Walking with the United States is what I’m most looking forward to.”
Training won’t change much for Roe regarding the transition to Olympic performance, but there will be small alterations. Roe said he isn’t training his mental game any differently but instead of training integer for college matches he will train decimal for international.
“The shooting is not any different because you are trying to shoot right in the middle,” said Head Coach Alan Lollar. “The difference is the number that appears to you on the screen.”
International matches are scored differently than college. Each shot is graded 10.0-10.9. International counts the decimal points to figure the score and break ties easier.
The higher the decimal point is, the deeper it is and Roe says that’s where he wants to be. A perfect score in college competition is 600 whereas a perfect score in international is a 654.
Not only has Roe led his team on the range, but he leads his peers in the classroom as well. Establishing Murray State history, Roe was presented the Elite 90 award at the NCAA National Rifle Championship. In order even to be considered for this award, the athlete must first make it to a national championship, which is composed of the top rifle teams in the entire nation. Once an athlete is able to accomplish that, they must have a higher GPA than every other athlete at the National Championship.
“Ivan is the epitome of a student athlete,” said director of athletics Allen Ward. “He does everything he is supposed to do inside the classroom and also certainly does it out on the range. All of his hard work is paying off for him. I couldn’t be more proud.”
The Elite 90 is a very select type of award. It speaks well of Murray State and how Ivan represents not only the Rifle program but the athletic department as a whole. Roe’s involvement has brought positive publicity to the university and set a new standard for the student-athlete.