Rifle team receives bid to first-ever NCAA tourney

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    Whether the match is tightly contested or already over from the beginning, the rifle team keeps on winning. The latest example of its winning ways was its 18-point aggregate victory in the NRA Sectionals against the Nevada Wolf Pack. The final score was 4,625-4,607 in the Horned Frogs favor.

    This year’s team has had exceptional play from its four freshmen, and the win against Nevada was no different as freshman Erin Lorenzen sealed first place in the individual smallbore event by shooting a 582. Individual air rifle also had its share of peak performers thanks to freshmen Simone Riford and Emily Paper, who snagged the top two places in the competition by shooting 585 and 583, respectively.

    Head coach Karen Monez said the team’s performance was impressive considering the team was lacking in experience in an event such as Sectionals.

    “They’ve never been in that situation before, and they came through,” Monez said.

    The event, which also serves as a qualifying match for entry into the NCAA Championships, lifted the Frogs into uncharted territory, as the team will compete in the event for the first time.

    “We’re pretty ecstatic,” Riford said. “We keep thinking about it and thinking it’s not real.”

    While the team is looking forward to the opportunity, Riford said it needs to improve its smallbore shooting and plug other holes in its shooting.

    “Our shooting from the kneeling position needs work,” Riford said.

    The team has less than a month before it competes at the NCAA Championships. The site of the event has yet to be determined by the NCAA.

    Monez said this season exceeded her expectations and she is excited about the opportunity to see what the team can do on the biggest stage in college rifle.

    “Just making the team is exciting, but going there and performing well is our long-term goal,” Monez said. “It shows the quality of individuals on this team.