Rifle sets sights on third Withrow Invitational win

Chalice Keith/The NewsRifle sets their sights at Pat Spurgin Rifle Range.

Story by Blake Sandlin, contributing writer

After a long drought in which the Murray State rifle team didn’t see the range for nearly two months, the team is poised to continue their shooting as they head into their next and final regular season match at the 2017 Withrow Invitational.

The team picked up right where they left off in 2016, with a decisive win last weekend in their fourth tri-match against the University of Kentucky and the University of Mississippi. The Racers, led by Robert Broadstreet’s school record tying air rifle score of 597, shot  4,708 to top Kentucky and Ole Miss, who shot 4,664 and 4,624, respectively.

The team’s shooting as of late has earned them a third place ranking in the Collegiate Rifle Coaches Association’s first poll of the new year, behind only Texas Christian and West Virginia. In a season of consistent shooting, the rankings have been relatively stagnant throughout, as the top three teams have managed to remain near the top of the rankings all season.

Head Coach said he believes his team’s continued success can be attributed to their commitment to hard work in training.

“I think our commitment to the process allows us the chance to stay consistent,” Lollar said. “Our training is focused on giving our best effort on each shot, no matter when it is, training or match. When every shot is handled the same way, physically and emotionally, you have a chance to be consistent.”

The Racers will hope to ride their momentum into their next match on Friday as they welcome a talented eight-team field to Murray State to compete in the 2017 Withrow Invitational. They will again get the chance to collide with the likes of fifth-ranked Kentucky and 13th-ranked Ole Miss, as well as other talent like 10th-ranked University of Memphis.

As far as improvements go, Lollar said his team will continue to train in hopes of perfecting their shooting to the best it can be.

“We will continue to work on process,” Lollar said. “We will always be working on making decisions and shooting the shots we want to shoot. Our goal is to shoot our shots, the way we want to shoot them. That never changes. We expect our best on everything we do, on and off the field.”

While the Racers are approaching their last match before the OVC Rifle Championships, Lollar said there isn’t any added importance to this next match. However, he says this last match will give him an opportunity to see how his team stacks up before postseason play begins.

“It always helps to shoot good,” Lollar said. “Every match is a chance to compare yourself to someone else, so this is our chance to see where we are.”

The 2017 Withrow Invitational will be held at 8 a.m. Friday, Jan. 20 at the Pat Spurgin Rifle Range in Murray and will be the team’s last match before opening postseason play on Feb. 4.