Nebraska at NCAA Championships
Date: Friday, March 8-Saturday, March 9
Host: Ohio State
Location: Columbus, Ohio
Venue: Converse Hall/French Field House
Teams Participating: Air Force, Alaska-Fairbanks, Army, Jacksonville State, Kentucky, Nebraska, TCU, West Virginia
The Nebraska rifle team will wrap up a successful 2012-13 campaign this weekend, heading to Columbus, Ohio as one of eight teams selected to the NCAA Championships. The championships will take place on March 8-9 at Converse Hall and French Field House as the Huskers vie for top honors among the best rifle teams in the nation. NU (19-6, 3-3 GARC) will arrive in Columbus after firing a 4,647 to finish third at the GARC Championships on Feb. 23-24. The Big Red joins Alaska-Fairbanks, Jacksonville State, Kentucky, TCU, Air Force, Army and West Virginia in the championship field.
Nebraska's championship appearance will be the program's first since 2010, when the Huskers placed sixth overall, including a fifth-place finish in smallbore and fourth in air rifle. NU earned a spot in this year's championship as the No. 7 overall seed.
NCAA Championship Schedule
The 2013 NCAA Championships will officially begin on Friday, March 8 with smallbore individual and team competition at Converse Hall. Competition will run in three relays beginning at 8 a.m. and lasting until 3:30 p.m. Individual finals will then take place from 4:30 p.m. until the event's conclusion at 6 p.m.
Day two of the championships will begin at 8 a.m. on Saturday, March 9 in French Field House. Air rifle team and individual competition will run in two relays and will conclude at 12:45 p.m. Individual finals will follow at 1:45 p.m., with awards concluding the afternoon. The weekend will finish with the National Rifle Association (NRA) Banquet at 7 p.m. in the Fawcett Center.
Looking Back: Huskers at the NCAA Championships
Nebraska's performance in this weekend's NCAA Championship marks the ninth such appearance in program history. The Huskers have never finished lower than sixth at an NCAA Championship meet. The 2006 squad earned the highest finish in Nebraska rifle history, coming in at second overall. That team included Kristina Fehlings, who fired her way to a national championship finish in air rifle.
Nebraska's last NCAA appearance came in 2010, when NU finished sixth nationally. That team included current Nebraska seniors Janine Dutton and Joyce Kim; Dutton finished sixth nationally in air rifle.
Nebraska Captures Third-Place Finish at GARC Championships
The Nebraska rifle team fired a 4,647 to finish third overall at the Great America Rifle Conference (GARC) championships on Feb. 22-24. NU's performance included a season-high 2,312 in smallbore and a 2,335 aggregate score in air rifle. The Huskers finished behind match champion West Virginia (first, 4,705) and regular-season champion Kentucky (second, 4,690) to earn their second third-place finish in two years at the GARC Championship.
Senior and honorable mention All-GARC smallbore selection Katelyn Woltersdorf and freshman Denise Martin led the way for the Huskers in smallbore competition, earning identical scores of 580 on the day. West Virginia's Petra Zublasing took top honors in the discipline, posting a score of 595 overall.
NU took to the air rifle range on day two of competition with a comfortable lead over fourth-place Army (2,297). The Huskers finished with a 2,335 in their second team event of the competition, securing their third-place position in the championship match. The Huskers' top performance on the day came from junior ReAnn Wilson, who fired a career-high 589 to lead Nebraska in the discipline.
Underwood, Seniors Earn GARC Honors
The Nebraska rifle team's three seniors and Head Coach Stacy Underwood took home a total of five awards at the Great America Rifle Conference (GARC) Championship Banquet on Friday night. Coach Underwood earned Coach of the Year honors, while seniors Janine Dutton and Katelyn Woltersdorf both took home all-conference selections for their performances on the range. Fellow senior Joyce Kim was also named one of seven Scholar-Athletes of the Year.
Dutton picked up second-team All-GARC honors in air rifle and honorable mention All-GARC accolades in combined shooting. The Eagle River, Alaska native will finish her career at Nebraska with a total of five all-conference honors to her name. Woltersdorf earned honorable mention All-GARC honors in smallbore, marking her first all-conference award. Kim's Scholar-Athlete of the Year honor is a fitting capstone to a stellar academic career for the two-time academic all-conference selection.
Underwood earned GARC Coach of the Year honors on Friday after leading a resurgent Nebraska to the NCAA Championships this season for the first time since 2010. The former Husker has revived the Husker program, leading Nebraska to an NCAA Championship berth and a 23-9 record overall this season.
Dutton Fires Her Way into Husker Recordbooks
Two weeks after earning her fourth and fifth All-GARC honors of career, Janine Dutton will look to cap her record-setting season at Nebraska with a strong performance at the NCAA Championships. With a solid showing in her final match as a Husker, Dutton will cement her place in the Nebraska record books in multiple categories.
Dutton's season average of 588.2 in air rifle is currently Nebraska's third-highest season average in that discipline under the 60/60 shot system. Her average is also the highest for a senior in school history, edging Misty Chanek's 585.83 set in 2005-06. In addition, Dutton's season-best score of 592 in air rifle breaks Chanek's single match senior record of 591, set in 2006.
Underwood Leads Huskers to Successful Season
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. In her first season at the helm of the Nebraska program, Underwood has propelled the Huskers back onto the national scene with an NCAA Championship-qualification and a third-place finish at the GARC Championships.
After NU posted a 10-15-1 record in 2012 and missed NCAA qualification for the second year in a row, Underwood was brought in to revive the storied Husker program and make it a national contender. The former Husker has done just that, leading Nebraska to a 19-7 record in the regular season and a 4-2 mark in postseason action. The impact of Underwood's coaching has been evident on the range, where Nebraska has averaged a combined score of 4,640 points per match this season--nearly 30 points better than least year's average. This drastic improvement can be seen in both disciplines: NU is averaging nearly 15 points per match better in smallbore and air rifle in 2012-13.
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.
Steady Seniors Lead NU into Postseason
Nebraska's three seniors have continued to make an impact in the Husker lineup as NU heads to the NCAA Championships this weekend.
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.
Katelyn Woltersdorf has also fired her way to a top-notch season, holding the No. 2 average in smallbore (575.7) and the No. 2 combined scoring average (1,158.3) on the team. Her smallbore average is nearly five points above her career average in that event as well.
Joyce 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 fifth on the team in air rifle (579.4) and is fifth in combined shooting (1,151.5). 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 six points (579.4). She posted a career-best 589 in air rifle at the GARC Championships to lead Nebraska.
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) and combined scoring (1,152.3). 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 has shown her capability as an individual competitor in NU's meets this season, holding the eighth-highest average in smallbore (566.8), air rifle (573.1) and combined scoring (1,138.9). She hails from West Anchorage High School and the Borealis Bullseyes club team.
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.
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. Martin is tied for second at Nebraska in combined scoring average (1,158.3) and No. 2 in air rifle (584.5). She was also NU's top performer at the GARC Championships, logging a 580 in smallbore and a 586 in air rifle en route to a combined performance of 1,166.
Mical has shown tremendous growth throughout the season and is NU's No. 4 shooter in smallbore (570.7) and No. 5 performer in combined scoring average (1,149.2). She has fired some of Nebraska's top scores late in the season, highlighed by a 1,165 at the NCAA Qualifiers that included a 579 in smallbore and a 586 in air rifle.