Story by Blake Sandlin, Staff writer
Third-ranked Murray State rifle team welcomed an eight-team field to the Pat Spurgin Rifle Range over the weekend, hosting the Withrow Open for a three-day shooting event.
The Racers shot a 4,706 aggregate score to place first in their own invitational for the third straight year. They outperformed fifth-ranked University of Kentucky, who shot an aggregate score of 4,679 to place second. Ninth-ranked North Carolina State finished in third with an aggregate of 4,659.
Murray State shot 2,337 in smallbore to pair with a score of 2,369 in air rifle. The Racers were led by the shooting of sophomore MacKenzie Martin and sophomore Alathea Sellars, who both shot a 587 in smallbore and 595 in air rifle to finish, leading to an aggregate score of 1,182. Junior Bobby Broadstreet also pitched in for the Racers, finishing with an aggregate of 1,176 off of a 592 score in air rifle and a 584 in smallbore.
Notably, senior Lucas Kozeniesky from North Carolina State led all shooters with a 596 in air rifle, and finished with an aggregate score of 1,182 to tie the shooting of Martin and Sellars on the day.
Junior Ivan Roe, currently the leading shooter for the Racers, did not participate in the invitational for the team. Roe is currently competing in the Bavarian Airgun Championships in Munich. Head coach of the Racers, Alan Lollar, felt his team stepped up to the challenge without Roe.
“I was really looking forward to this weekend,” Lollar said. “It is a big part of our maturing process. Without Ivan they all stepped up and competed with the best. Sixth straight match over 4,700. They are training hard and it is showing up on match day.”
Last weekend’s match was the last of the Racer’s regular season, now begin preparing for postseason play when they hit the range at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 4 for a two-day event held in Morehead, Kentucky. The event will begin with smallbore on Saturday and air rifle to follow on Sunday. The Racers will be competing for their second straight OVC title and their 12th in school history.