Nebraska at GARC Championships
Date: Friday, Feb. 22-Sunday, Feb. 24
Host: Ole Miss
Location: Oxford, Miss.
Venue: Patricia C. Lamar National Guard Readiness Center
Teams Participating: Army, Kentucky, Memphis, Navy, Nebraska, NC State, Ole Miss, West Virginia
The Nebraska rifle team will continue postseason action this weekend as it travels to the Great America Rifle Conference (GARC) Championships, hosted by Ole Miss in Oxford, Miss. The meet will take place from Feb. 22-24, with team action occuring on Saturday, Feb. 23 and Sunday, Feb. 24. The Huskers (19-7, 3-3 GARC) will square off some of the nation's best rifle squads at the conference championship, facing West Virginia, Kentucky, Army, Memphis, Navy, NC State and Ole Miss in team and individual competition.
NU enters this weekend's match after qualifying for the NCAA Championships for the first time since 2010 on Wednesday. After firing the second-highest team score of season (4,650) at the NCAA Qualifiers, NU earned a spot in the championship field as the No. 7 seed. Nebraska will look to replicate last season's performance at the GARC Championships, when the team fired its way to third-place overall finish.
GARC Championship Schedule
GARC Championship action will take place over the course of three days, beginning on Friday, Feb. 22 and continuing until Sunday, Feb. 24. Competition will begin on Friday, when individual smallbore competitors will take to the range at 12 p.m. CST. That evening will be the annual conference championship banquet, which is slated for a 7 p.m. start.
Saturday's action will begin at 7 a.m. with team smallbore action, closely followed by the beginning of individual air rifle competition at 8:30 a.m. The day will conclude with team smallbore finals in the evening, which will begin 5:30 p.m.
The championship will wrap up on Sunday, Feb. 24, beginning with team air rifle performances at 8 a.m. The closing event of the championship will be team air rifle finals, which will start at 12:45 p.m.
The 2013 conference championship is hosted by Ole Miss. Spectators unable to attend can follow live targets and view full results at OleMissSports.com.
Nebraska Qualifies for NCAA Championships
The Huskers qualified for the NCAA Championships for the first time since 2010, the NCAA Men's and Women's Rifle Committee announced on Feb. 20. Led by first-year Head Coach Stacy Underwood, the Huskers will return to the championship field after a two-year absence. Joining Nebraska at the Championships will be West Virginia, Kentucky, TCU, Alaska-Fairbanks, Army, Jacksonville State and Air Force.
The appearance will be the ninth in program history and the first as a head coach for Underwood, who took over leadership of the team this season. The program's best finish came in 2006, when the Huskers posted a second-place performance.
The top-eight teams in both the smallbore three-position and air rifle events were selected based on the average of the three highest regular-season scores with no more than one match at any given site. The average of the three highest scores was then added to the aggregate scores from a team's qualifying match to determine the top-eight programs. NU qualified with a combined score of 9,298.67, which breaks down into a top-three scoring average of 4,648.67 and an NCAA Qualifier score of 4,650.
Huskers Fire a 4,650 at NCAA Qualifiers
NU fired their second-highest score of the season to finish second overall at their NCAA Qualifier match on Sunday, Feb. 17. NU posted a 4,650 to finish behind Jacksonville State (4,664) and ahead of four other competing teams. The match marked one of the Huskers' most complete performances this season, as the team earned its third-highest smallbore total (2,306) and fourth-highest air rifle aggregate (2,344) of 2012-13.
NU picked up a score of 2,306 on the smallbore range to start the competition on a strong note. The Huskers were led in the event identical efforts of 579 from Janine Dutton, Denise Martin and Magdalena Mical. Mical's performance was a career-best for the freshman, while Marissa Major also added a career-best at 568.
The Huskers moved to air rifle, posting a solid team mark of 2,344. Katelyn Woltersdorf and fellow senior Dutton finished in the second and fourth-place spots, respectively, for their efforts of 588 apiece. Major's career day also continued as the freshman contributed a 583 on the air rifle range.
Up Next: NCAA Championships
The Huskers will close out their season in early March as they join seven other teams to compete at the NCAA Championships. The NCAA Championships will be held March 8-9 in Columbus, Ohio at Converse Hall and French Field House. Smallbore and air rifle competition will be split over the two days, with smallbore competing on March 8 and air rifle taking place on March 9.
Successful Seniors Lead NU into Postseason
Nebraska's three seniors have continued to make an impact in the Husker lineup as NU aims to make its first NCAA championship appearance since 2010. Janine Dutton, Joyce Kim and Katelyn Woltersdorf have all made major contributions in their final seasons with Nebraska, particularly in the smallbore discipline.
Dutton has led the way for the Huskers in 2012-13, holding NU's top averages in smallbore (576), air rifle (588.2) and combined scoring (1,164.2). She is in the midst of her best scoring season yet at Nebraska, firing an average of 10 points above her career average in smallbore and three points above her air rifle average. Dutton has also earned five individual event titles throughout the season.
Woltersdorf has also fired her way to a top-notch season, holding the No. 2 average in smallbore (575.3) and the No. 2 combined scoring average (1,157.9) on the team. Her smallbore average is nearly five points above her career average in that event as well.
Kim has come on strong in the final weeks of the regular season, culminating in a career-best and event-title winning mark of 582 in smallbore at the Roger Withrow Open. She also holds the No. 7 smallbore average for the Huskers at 567.4.
Husker juniors Sunny Russell and ReAnn Wilson have made solid contributions to the NU lineup throughout the season. The duo have appeared in both team and individual competition for the Big Red in 2012-13.
Russell has appeared as a declared team competitor in all of Nebraska's 11 regular-season matches and is tied for fourth on the team in smallbore (570.4), fifth in air rifle (580.3) and fourth in combined scoring average (1,151.7). Russell's performances have gone far above her career averages, as the junior is firing over seven points above her career smallbore mark and over six points above her air rifle average.
Wilson has shown marked improvement throughout the course of the season, raising her smallbore average by nearly ten points (565.3) and her air rifle average by over five points (578.3). She posted a best performance of the season against Army on Feb. 9, earning new career-best marks in smallbore (577), air rifle (586) and combined competition (1,163).
Sophomore Hits Stride
Appearing as the lone sophomore in Nebraska's lineup this season, sophomore Kelsey Hansen is hitting her stride as one of NU's five declared competitors this season. Hansen is fourth on the team in air rifle average (582.3), tied for fourth in smallbore (570.7) and fifth combined scoring (1,151.3). In the past month of competition, she has also fired career-best marks in smallbore (581) and air rifle (589).
Freshmen Grow in First Season
With the regular season drawing to a close, the freshmen on the Nebraska rifle team have made strides in their first year with the Big Red. Alexandrea Lorentz, Marissa Major, Denise Martin and Magdalena Mical have all made improvements in the first part of their season and have competed for spots in the NU lineup.
Lorentz has shown her capability as an individual competitor in NU's meets this season, holding the eighth-highest average in smallbore at 566.8. A competitor from West Anchorage High School and the Borealis Bullseyes, Lorentz contributed to team finishes of second in 2010 and fifth in 2012 at the Junior Olympics in the Precision Team Championship.
Arriving at Nebraska from the Arvada Rifle and Pistol Club in Arvada, Colo., Major has continued to adjust to the competition level of collegiate rifle. She has particularly shown her growth in the last month of the season, firing career-bests in smallbore (568), air rifle (583) and combined scoring (1,151) at the NCAA Qualifiers. Major finished first in the NRA Junior Three-Position Air Rifle Precision competition before joining Nebraska.
Martin has been a crucial part of Nebraska's declared competitive team, earning a pair of individual titles in the Huskers' upset of Alaska-Fairbanks early in the season. A three-time Washington state champion and a member of the USA Shooting team at the 2010 International Shooting Sports Federation Junior World Championships, Martin is Nebraska's No. 3 shooter in combined scoring average (1,157.7) and No. 2 in air rifle (584.3)
Mical has shown tremendous growth throughout the season and is NU's No. 6 shooter in smallbore (569.9), air rifle (578.4) and combined scoring (1,148.3). Mical finished first in smallbore at the 2011 Florida Junior Olympic Qualifier and was a 2011 Junior Olympic National qualifier as well as the 2010 Florida Metric Prone State Champion.
Stacy Underwood Named Nebraska Rifle Coach
The Nebraska rifle program entered a new era on May 24, 2012 as the team announced former Husker shooter Stacy Underwood as its new head coach. Underwood arrived at Nebraska after spending five years as an assistant coach under Coach Harry Mullins at Kentucky. During her time at Kentucky, Underwood helped the Wildcats to a 48-8 record and five top-five NCAA finishes. UK won the 2011 NCAA Championship while adding one GARC Championship title and two GARC regular-season crowns during Underwood's tenure. Underwood also assisted in the development of 26 All-Americans while at Kentucky.
Prior to her coaching career, Underwood competed for the Nebraska rifle team from 2003 to 2007. She was a four-year letterwinner for NU and a two-time NRA All-American. Underwood was named the GARC Senior of the Year in 2007 and also earned All-GARC honors in air rifle and combined. A team captain in 2004-05, she helped the Huskers to a third-place NCAA finish that season and a fifth-place finish in 2007.
Underwood graduated from the University of Nebraska in 2007, earning a bachelor's degree in education. She added a master's degree in kinesiology and health promotion from Kentucky in 2009.