The rifle team will head to Austin today to face the Nevada-Reno and UTEP on Saturday.The team has already competed against both Nevada-Reno and UTEP, said Karen Monez, head coach for the rifle team.
The team came in second at its last tournament in Nevada on Oct. 15.
“All shots will be fired on paper targets this weekend,” Monez said. “Our tournament a week and a half ago, shots were fired on electronic targets, so that has been a change in our training this week.”
After assessing scores from the last tournament, Monez said the players decided which areas needed more attention and focused on those for the upcoming tournament.
Two different guns are used in competition: an air rifle, which the team enjoys more because it is easier to master, and a smallbore, Monez said. The team is stronger overall in air rifle because it is shot at a closer range than smallbore, she said.
“Our team is definitely further ahead of where we were last year, with outstanding overall scores for air rifle and some really good individual scores for smallbore,” Monez said.
Instead of just working on mechanics, sophomore math major Tanya Gorin said she is getting her head in the game for the match.
“I’m trying to work out all of the little kinks,” Gorin said. “and rather than doing a hard workout, I’m getting more mentally prepared.”
Gorin said she tries to simulate her practices to be more like the competitions, focusing more on pacing herself and staying focused.
“Basically, it’s not an active sport, and when you get to our level, it’s 95 percent mental and, of course, physical stamina,” Gorin said.
Some players are recruited and others are walk-ons, Monez said.
There are two separate teams, a purple team, with seven players who travel and compete, and a white team, with 13 players vying for chances to travel with the purple team, Monez said.
Two members of the white team, Kara Griffin, a senior political science and criminal justice major, and Rebecca Upjohn, a junior biology major, have been shooting well and will travel to Austin, Monez said.
Lauren Sullivan, a freshman premajor who was recruited along with three other freshmen by Monez, said she expects the tournament to be like any other match – fun and challenging.
Monez said there are no height or weight requirements to join the rifle team and some walk-ons have no experience shooting but become very competitive with lots of training.
“Most people don’t understand rifle shooting is an Olympic sport,” Monez said. “Lots of these women have set goals outside the collegiate level and at the world level, and I want to help them achieve these goals.