NEW LONDON, Conn. -- At 11 locations around the country, every NCAA rifle team was in action for the mandatory NCAA Qualifier. The Qualifier is a major factor, counting for 50% of each team's NCAA National ranking, which is the gateway to the National Championship with the top eight teams earning berths to the championship.
Head shooting coach Rick Hawkins noted, "Although we competed against every other team in the nation we approached the match no differently than any other event this season. We focused on executing the 120 match format one shot at a time in order for each shooter to have the best individual, and thereby the best team performance possible.
In the basement of Chase Hall the Bears faced their toughest competition: themselves. Looking for a rebound after a mediocre performance at MIT's Beanpot Tournament, the team found themselves in sailing terms, in irons.
Sophomore Lindsey Critser led the team in smallbore with a 555 with team captain Nick Paisker right behind with a 550. Freshman Skye Ambrose and Alexandria Harrington filled out the team firing a personal best 546 for Ambrose, and 542 for Harrington. Air rifle saw Harrington in the lead with 578 with Paisker's 573 in support. Critser posted a 569 and Ambrose closed out the scorers with a 564.
Freshman Dave Rose posted a personal best in air rifle as did Jacob Dupree.
Traditional rival Massachusetts Institute of Technology bused down from Cambridge to provide the required shoulder to shoulder competition and set an MIT air rifle school record in the process. MIT senior Sarah Wright shot a 590 to set the tone for the Engineers and came just two points shy of breaking the Academy range record.