COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. –-(Ammoland.com)- The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) rifle season opens this weekend with several USA Shooting (USAS) Team athletes participating.
Twelve of the 14 members on the National Junior Team are all affiliated with NCAA schools with the remaining two being high school student athletes.
USAS has strong NCAA roots, as 100 percent of the National Rifle Team members proudly name their alma maters as key places in the development of their shooting careers. Moreover, NCAA offers the opportunity for creating consistency with matches nearly every weekend throughout the season.
According to the Collegiate Rifle Coaches Association, the top-5 ranked teams headed into the 2012-2013 season are reigning NCAA Champions the Texas Christian University (TCU) Frogs, University of Kentucky (UK), West Virginia University (WVU), University of Alaska-Fairbanks (UAF) and the U.S. Military Academy (Army).
“Without a doubt, it should be an exciting year for the TCU team,” said head coach Karen Monez. “With an experienced group of seniors leading the TCU team, their mind-set is to work hard, have fun and finish their collegiate careers at the top.”
Monez has a talent laden team featuring 2012 Olympian Sarah Scherer (Woburn, Mass.). Scherer finished seventh overall in London in Women's 10m Air Rifle and is looking forward to bringing her Olympic experience to the NCAA stage. Joining Scherer is National Team member Sarah Beard (Danville, Ind.) who finished fourth at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Smallbore. Both seniors were named first-team All-Americans for the 2011-2012 season in both airgun and smallbore, and bring a wealth of leadership experience to the Frog's team.
“Having competed at the Olympic level has given me a good perspective on the type of competition that is out there,” said Scherer. “It helped me extend my outlook on performance levels in the sport. For me, NCAA competitions are very critical training tools on how to compete consistently. I bring my Olympic experience and high expectations to every match to perform well at that given match and with the future-World Cups, World Championships and Rio 2016-in mind.”
Also boasting Olympic talent is the WVU Mountaineers with the likes of Petra Zublasing (Appiano, Italy), who shoots for Italy in international competition. Last year, Zublasing was the Great American Rifle Conference's (GARC) Athlete of the Year and finished 12th in both Women's 10m Air Rifle and Women's 50m Rifle Three Position in London.
Mountaineers coach Jon Hammond-who also competed at the Olympic Games for Great Britain-is looking to Zublasing's Olympic knowledge to lead the team as he commented, “We are really excited about the upcoming season and the WVU team for this year! We have a young team with some good new additions, and of course an Olympian in Petra [Zublasing] coming back for her senior year. Her experience will be key for leading the team as we know we will have some fierce competition this year!”
In NCAA competition, men and women compete against each other as part of a team which consists of four athletes. During the competition, each athlete shoots a total of 60 shots in both smallbore (20 in each position) and air rifle. The team aggregate maximum is 4800 points (2400 for each event). In order to qualify for the NCAA National Championships, aggregate scores are tallied throughout the season and bids are offered to the top teams.
To view results and rosters, please visit the individual university webpage.
National Junior Team Athletes in NCAA Programs
- Ryan Anderson (UAF/Wasilla, Alaska)
- Matthew Chezem (University of Akron/Simi Valley, Calif.)
- Taylor Ciotola (WVU/Pasadena, Md.)
- Connor Davis (UK/Shelbyville, Ky.)
- Elijah Ellis (UK/Kingsport, Tenn.)
- Kelsey Emme (MSU/Rapid City, S.D.)
- Catherine Green (TCU/Coventry, R.I.)
- Emily Holsopple (UK/Wilcox, Pa.)
- Mike Liuzza (UAF/New Orleans, La.)
- Michael Matthews (Army/Johns Creek, Ga.)
- Tyler Rico (AFA, Tucson, Ariz.)
- Garrett Spurgeon (WVU/Canton, Mo.)
National Development Team Athletes Affiliated with NCAA Programs
- Amy Sowash (University of Kentucky Assistant Coach/Richmond, Ky.)
- National Team Athletes Affiliated with NCAA Programs
- Sarah Beard (TCU/Danville, Ind.)
- Amanda Furrer (OSU/Spokane, Wash.)
- Jamie Gray (Columbus State University Assistant Coach/Lebanon, Pa.)
- Sarah Scherer (TCU/Woburn, Mass.)
About USA Shooting:
USA Shooting, a 501c3 non-profit corporation, was chartered by the United States Olympic Committee as the National Governing Body for the sport of shooting in April 1995. USA Shooting's mission is to prepare American athletes to win Olympic medals, promote the shooting sports throughout the U.S. and govern the conduct of international shooting in the country. Check us out on the web at www.usashooting.org and on Twitter at twitter.com/USAShooting.