The rifle team will take aim at the National Rifle Association Sectionals this weekend with a chance to keep its undefeated season alive.The sectionals will put the team in a position to qualify for the NCAA Championships. Last season, former Horned Frog Celeste Green qualified for the nationals and took 10th place in the individual smallbore rifle competition.
Led by a trio of rookie shooters, Erin Lorenzen, Lauren Sullivan and Simone Riford, the young squad continued setting personal records while facing the UTEP Miners last weekend, head coach Karen Monez said.
Both Lorenzen and Riford set personal bests while in El Paso. Lorenzen’s new personal best of 593 in air rifle broke Lauren Sullivan’s school record of 592. Riford also recorded a personal best scoring a 581 in the smallbore event.
Last weekend’s win against UTEP marked the fifth straight match in which the Horned Frogs have amassed more than 4,600 points on their aggregate team score. Carrying the Horned Frogs through the match was Sullivan, whose composite score for smallbore and air rifle shooting was 1,172 points.
“(Sullivan) had a very good match; she shot a 581 smallbore, and then backed it up with a 591 air rifle,” Monez said. “Those are two very good scores back to back.”
Final team adjustments will be made before hosting this weekend’s NRA Sectionals, Monez said.
One of the key adjustments before the sectionals will be a different type of target than what the team fired at in El Paso. The team will be shooting at an electronic target rather than a paper target, Monez said.
Although the women have fired on an electronic bull’s-eye before, last week’s training was used on a paper target.
“I think they prefer shooting on the electronic target,” Monez said. “With a paper target, you need to find your natural point of aim, and it is very difficult with multiple targets. With electronic targets, you are shooting at one bull’s-eye every time.”
Some modifications in technique will be analyzed this week before the competition.
“We’ll evaluate performances from last weekend, identify the stronger points and weaker points and try to make some improvements in weak areas,” Monez said.
Monez said the strategy heading into sectionals is getting the shooters to continue to shoot high individual scores in order to garner a high team score.
“I tell the girls to focus on their individual performances, and that’s what it takes to make a good team score,” Monez said. “They are the only one who can influence what they will shoot.