LEXINGTON, Ky. — Coming off the best showing in its storied program history, the University of Kentucky No. 1 Rifle Team looks to continue its sharp shot Saturday as it travels to the West End of the Commonwealth to participate in the Open Withrow 2022 against Murray State.
The event, which also includes North Carolina State, North Georgia, Jacksonville State and UAB, will take place inside the Pat Spurgin Range on the campus of Murray State University . Several teams will face off Friday and Sunday, but Kentucky and Murray State should start aiming and preparing around 10 a.m. ET on Saturday. Live results and live goals will be available online at UKathletics.com.
“The Withrow Open is always a fun event for our team and we can’t wait to compete again on Saturday,” said the UK head coach. Harry Mullins noted. “Obviously we had some success last weekend, but we’ve gotten back to work in training this week to try and improve. The Withrow is one of the two games we have left before qualifying for the NCAA, so it’s important that we take advantage of this opportunity to get better.”
Kentucky (7-1) is coming off its best performance in program history last weekend at Army, earning double-game wins over NC State and Army. Sunday against NC State, the UK posted three school records and an NCAA record. The game started with Kentucky earning a team-record smallbore score of 2360, beating their previous best of 2358. The Wildcats topped that in air rifle with a school-record 2392, which was a better than best previous of 2391. The two high scorers totaled a total team score of 4752, which is not only a school record but an NCAA record.
Individually against NC State, Kentucky had a senior total of 1,195 Will Shaner, which tied for the highest overall score in NCAA history. His small-bore 596 was a career high. Junior Mary Tucker shone in both disciplines, but posted a perfect 600 in air rifle. This is the second time in her career that she has achieved a perfect air rifle score. Shaner’s 596 in small bore tied the highest mark in the nation this season, while the 1195 total is the best in the nation this year. Tucker’s perfect 600 is one of three in the nation, while she has three air rifle scores of 599 or better this season. Shaner and Tucker lead the Wildcats this season. Shaner averages 590.33 in smallbore and 596.333 in air rifle, while Tucker earns a 589.667 in smallbore and 598.167 in air rifle.
Many other Wildcats earned their career-best marks last weekend. Senior Richard Clarkwho has an average of 584.25 in small arms and 594 in air rifle, posted a career-best 598 in air rifle against the army, while his senior colleague Mitchell Nelson, who averaged 582.375 in small bore and 591.5 in air rifle, also had a career-best 595 in air rifle against the Army. The three British freshmen shone last weekend with Allison Buesseler scoring a career-best 598 in air rifle against the Army. rookies Kayla Kalenza and Tori Kopelen each scored career bests in small arms against Army and followed that with career bests in air rifle against NC State. junior Mason Hamilton and Emmie Sellers had a great weekend. Hamilton averages 580.375 in small bore and 594 in air rifle, while Sellers earns 577.429 in small bore and 588.125 in air rifle. Junior jade thompsonwho didn’t compete last weekend, is expected to return this weekend and is having a great season averaging 581.833 in the small bore and 587.833 in the air rifle.
As a team, the Wildcats averaged a 2342.50 smallbore total and 2376.25 air rifle total for a total team average of 4718.75. After the Withrow, the UK will have a double game in West Virginia on February 12, host an NCAA qualifier against Morehead State on February 19 and compete in the Great America Rifle Conference Championships in West Point, New York on February 25. 26.
Murray State is averaging 2323 in small bore, 2361.36 in air rifle and 4684.36 overall this season. The Racers competed twice last weekend, beating Jacksonville State 4707-4664 and UT-Martin 4626-4602. Matias Kiuru leads the team with a small arms average of 585.222 and an air rifle average of 594.556.
For more information on the Kentucky Rifle Team, visit UKathletics.com or follow UKRifle on TwitterInstagram and Facebook.