No. 8 Nebraska at NCAA Qualifiers
Date: Sunday, Feb. 17
Start Time: 1 p.m. CST
Location: Murray, Ky.
Venue: Pat Spurgin Rifle Range
The No. 8 Nebraska rifle team will open postseason action this weekend as it travels to Murray, Ky., to compete in its NCAA Qualifier match. The event will begin at 1 p.m. CST at the Pat Spurgin Rifle Range on the Murray State University campus. The Huskers' (15-6, 3-3 GARC) performance at the NCAA Qualifier will help dictate whether NU will earn a spot in the NCAA Championship field for the first time since 2010. NU finished third at their 2012 NCAA Qualifier, firing a 4,596 at the Alaska-Fairbanks Rifle Range.
Huskers Ranked Eighth in Three-Score Average
The Huskers came in at No. 8 nationally in the final CRCA Rankings of the regular season, released Feb. 11. The rankings are computed based on each team's three-score averages, which are calculated by considering the three highest regular-season combined scores with no more than one match at a given site. NU's three-score average of 4,648.67 puts them in strong position to qualify for the NCAA Championships, joining GARC teams West Virginia, Kentucky and Army in the top eight. NU's NCAA Championship hopes will hinge partially on the team's performance at the NCAA Qualifiers this weekend.
NCAA Championship team berths are determined in a two-step process. The NCAA first considers each team's top-three score average. 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 compete in Columbus, Ohio in March.
NU Drops Match to Army
Despite career-best performances by several team members, the Huskers were unable to top No. 5 Army on Feb. 9, falling by a score of 4,645-4,631 at the NU Rifle Range. The Huskers finished with team marks of 2,298 in smallbore and 2,333 in air rifle against the Black Knights.
NU began the day on the smallbore range, where multiple Huskers logged season-best and career-high performances en route to a team score of 2,298. The Big Red was led by senior Katelyn Woltersdorf, who fired her way to a season-high and meet-best 583 on the morning. Sophomore Kelsey Hansen added a career-high 581, while junior ReAnn Wilson earned a career mark of 577.
The Black Knights were led in smallbore by Michael Matthews, who posted a 581 to finish in a tie for second overall. Army collectively scored a 2,306 in the discipline to take an advantage on the range into air rifle competition.
Nebraska picked up a score of 2,333 in air rifle on the day. Wilson had another career performance in her second discipline, earning a 586 to lead the Huskers and finish third overall.
Army used a meet-best score of 590 by Richard Calvin to finish with a team score of 2,339 and take the win on the day.
Nebraska Kicks off Postseason Competition
With the regular season under their belts, the Huskers will open postseason competition this weekend as they compete in NCAA and conference championship matches over the next several weeks. NU will journey to Oxford, Miss., next 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 year 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 (575.7), air rifle (588.1) and combined scoring (1,163.9). 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 (575.7) and the No. combined scoring average (1,157.5) 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 570.
Husker juniors Sunny Russell and ReAnn Wilson have made solid contributions to the NU lineup throughout the season. The duo has appeared in both team and individual competition for the Big Red in 2012-13.
Russell has performed as a declared team competitor in all of Nebraska's 11 regular-season matches and is fifth on the team in smallbore (570.4), air rifle (581) and combined scoring average (1,152.2). 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 (564.7) and her air rifle average by over five points (578). She posted her best performance of the season against Army on Feb. 9, earning new career-high 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 third on the team in air rifle average (582.2) and fourth in smallbore (571.9) and combined scoring (1,153.2). 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 567. 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. 3 shooter in combined scoring average (1,157.1) and air rifle (584.2)
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.
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.