Story by Cory Sharber, contributing writer
The Murray State rifle team took home its third-straight OVC Championship and numerous team and individual accolades over the weekend at the Pat Spurgin Rifle Range.
The No. 4 ranked Racers had to compete against other opponents in the top-20, including No. 12 Jacksonville State, No. 17 Morehead State and No. 18 UT Martin.
Murray State emerged as the victors with an aggregate of 4707 points. Morehead State placed second with 4637 points, Jacksonville State finished in third with 4626 points and UT Martin rounded out the competitors in fourth with an aggregate of 4599 points.
Head Coach Alan Lollar noted the success of the team was determined by the preparation that went into it, noting the different atmosphere in which the team had to compete in.
“I think they prepared for the distractions of this week,” Lollar said. “It’s the biggest crowd we’ll deal with at home. We have family here and there’s a lot of things that make it a much different atmosphere.”
Senior Ivan Roe, from Manhattan, Montana, finished as the top marksman in the tournament with an aggregate of 1176 and also claimed OVC First Team honors in both air rifle and smallbore. Senior Ben Estes, from Ozark, Missouri, and junior MacKenzie Martin, from Fairhaven, Massachusetts, both shot aggregates of 1175 each. Martin claimed the top smallbore spot with 589 points.
Estes received OVC First Team honors in both air rifle and smallbore, while Martin was named to the Second Team in air rifle, First Team in smallbore and emerged as the 2018 OVC Smallbore Athlete of the Year.
Senior Bobby Broadstreet, from Ozark, Missouri, emerged as the top air rifle marksman for the tournament shooting for a score of 595. Broadstreet also took home the 2018 OVC Air Rifle Athlete of the Year award and First Team honors in air rifle.
Junior Barbara Schläpfer, from Gais, Switzerland, obtained an aggregate of 1172 for the tournament and received First Team honors in air rifle and smallbore. She noted the atmosphere had an impact on the tournament as it was more personal to play in front of their peers.
“I think it’s always special to do that in front of a home crowd because you have all of your friends and family members here,” Schläpfer said. “It’s way more personal than at a place where you don’t know anyone.”
Junior Alathea Sellars, from Puryear, Tennessee, shot for 578 in smallbore and took home Second Team honors in smallbore. Freshman Dana Buesseler, from Forest Lake, Minnesota, was selected as the 2018 OVC Freshman of the Year. Murray State swept the team awards as champions in both smallbore and air rifle.
Lollar also took home an award, as he was selected as the 2018 OVC Rifle Coach of the Year for the fifth time in his career.
Lollar noted that it never gets old winning the conference and noted the hard work and dedication his shooters have given him all season, which resulted in a multitude of awards.
“They’ve worked hard and they shoot the numbers,” said Lollar. “They put the work in at training and they’re the most dedicated group of young people I’ve ever been around.”
Martin complimented her coach noting his dedication for the team and their success.
“He says that we’re dedicated, but I think it’s important to know that he’s dedicated too,” said Martin. “I knew that he was going to be there the whole time I needed him.”
Murray State will be competing in Oxford, Mississippi on Feb.10 in a tri-match against No. 8 Ole Miss and No. 16 Memphis before the NCAA Qualifiers which will be held on Feb. 18.