No. 8 Nebraska vs. No 5 Army
Date: Saturday, Feb. 9
Start Time: 8 a.m. CST
Location: Lincon, Neb.
Venue: NU Rifle Range
The eighth-ranked Nebraska rifle team will close their regular season at home this weekend, hosting No. 5 Army at the NU Rifle Range. The GARC foes will square off on Saturday, Feb. 9 at 8 a.m. CST as each team looks to gain momentum heading into postseason action. Army (7-4, 3-2 GARC) holds an 11-13 all-time advantage over the Huskers (15-5, 3-2 GARC). The two teams last met at the 2012 GARC Championships, where NU edged the Black Knights by a score of 4,658-4,653.
Scouting the Army Black Knights
Head Coach: Maj. Ron Wigger (11th year)
2012-13 High Score: 4,675 (vs. Jacksonville and Ole Miss, 1/27/13)
2012 NCAA Finish: Fourth
The Army Black Knights will travel to Lincoln to close their regular season on the road this weekend. Army holds a 7-4 record in 2012-13, including wins over Memphis, Murray State, Ole Miss and Ohio State. Three of the Black Knights' four losses have come to top-five teams nationally. Army tied school-record 4,675 in January against Jacksonville State and Ole Miss
The 2012-13 squad is paced by junior Richard Calvin, a second-team All-GARC selection in air rifle in 2012 and ninth-place finisher at the conference championships. Army is led by Head Coach Ron Wigger, who is in his 11th season at the helm of the Army program.
Nebraska Captures Withrow Open Title
NU fired a 4,639 at the Withrow Open on January 27, finishing first out of eight teams and capturing the overall title. The Huskers bested a total of 13 teams that competed in the two-weekend event hosted by Murray State University. The match also counted as a victory over conference opponent Memphis.
"This was a great match for our team," Head Coach Stacy Underwood said. "Everyone has been working on specific individual goals to improve over the past week, and we saw some great achievements in a match setting."
Nebraska earned a team mark of 2,294 in smallbore to start the day. The Huskers' top shooter was senior Joyce Kim, who fired her way to a 582 as an individual. That mark tied Kim's career best and also led the Withrow Open field this weekend.
The Big Red added a 2,345 on the air rifle range, paced by senior Janine Dutton's score of 592. Dutton's performance on the day tied her season-best score for 2013 and was good for third overall on Sunday.
Nebraska Takes Aim at NCAA Championship Berth
With a 15-5 record and a No. 8 ranking nationally, the Nebraska rifle team is in strong position to qualify for their first NCAA Championship since 2010. Under the leadership of first-year head coach Stacy Underwood, the Huskers own a season average of 4,640.8 and a top-three score average of 4,648.7, placing them in the top eight nationally. Nebraska will have one more opportunity to boost its three-score average with this weekend's final regular season match.
NCAA Championship team berths are determined in a two-step process. The NCAA considers the three highest regular season combined scores with no more than one match at a given site. The average of those three scores is then added to the results of the team's performance at its NCAA Qualifying match. That number determines the teams that qualify for the championships, with the top eight squads earning a bid to shoot in Columbus, Ohio in March.
Huskers Look to the Postseason
Beginning on Feb. 17, the Big Red will open postseason action with competition at their NCAA Qualifier in Murray, Ky. NU's performance there, coupled with their three-score qualifying average, will determine whether the team will make an appearance at the NCAA Championships. NU finished third at their 2012 NCAA Qualifier, firing a 4,596 at the Alaska-Fairbanks Rifle Range. Nebraska's NCAA Qualifier will begin at 1 p.m. CST at the Pat Spurgin Rifle Range on the Murray State University campus.
NU will journey to Oxford, Miss., the following weekend for the GARC Championships on Feb. 22-23. NU had a breakout performance at the 2012 conference championship, posting a 4,658 to take third place behind West Virginia and Kentucky. The Huskers will try to achieve a similar result this season, squaring off against West Virginia, Kentucky, Army, Ole Miss, Memphis and NC State at the championship.
The season will close out at the NCAA Championships, held this season in Columbus, Ohio on March 8-9. Team selections will be announced on Feb. 20, with the nation's top eight squads earning bids to the championship. The NCAA will fill out the field on Feb. 21, announcing individual qualifiers up to a total of 48 competitors (including shooters from qualifying teams).
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 (576.9), air rifle (588.5) and combined scoring (1,165.7). 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 (574.7) and the No. 3 combined scoring average (1,157) 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. 6 smallbore average for the Huskers at 568.9.
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 seventh-highest average in smallbore at 566.9. 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 shot her best score of the season against Air Force on Nov. 17, firing a 578 in air rifle en route to a combined score of 1,145. 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. 2 shooter in combined scoring average (1,165.7) and air rifle (588.5)
Mical had her breakthrough performance of the season on Nov. 17 against Air Force, firing her way to marks of 578 in smallbore and 589 in air rifle for a combined total of 1,167. That score was good to give Mical her first combined title as a Husker. 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.
Nebraska at No. 8 in CRCA Rankings
NU dropped one spot to No. 8 nationally in the latest CRCA rankings, released Feb. 6. The top five nationally remained unchanged in this week's rankings, which are compiled based on top-three score averages. West Virginia continues to hold fast to the No. 1 position, with No. 2 TCU and No. 3 Kentucky rounding out the top three. Alaska-Fairbanks remained at No. 4 nationally, while Army picked up the No. 5 ranking. Other GARC teams making appearances in the rankings this week include No. 9 Memphis, No. 10 Mississippi and No. 14 NC State.
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.