It took until the last week of fall semester to identify the top collegiate team in the nation, but with two decisive wins to conclude the first half of NCAA Rifle season, the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) is the leader in the clubhouse at the season’s halfway point.
In a glimpse of what might be forthcoming at the March NCAA Championships, Alaska battled then No. 1-ranked Kentucky and set a school record of 4702 (combined team score) in their Saturday match. USA Shooting National Junior Team member Ryan Anderson (Wasilla, Alaska) and Tim Sherry (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) have been the stalwarts leading the charge for Nanook nation this season. The Nanook rifle legacy is deep with a history of shooting success and an alumni base that includes three-time Olympic medalist Matt Emmons and current Olympic champion Jamie Beyerle Gray. Anderson might be the next in line having swept both smallbore rifle events at the 2013 National Junior Olympic Shooting Championships.
Anderson shares the nation’s second-best smallbore rifle score of 589 and also is one of just seven athletes to shoot a 586 or better on the season. Sherry is the leading smallbore rifle shooter heading into the second half of the season after posting a 590 against Kentucky on November 24. He also has recorded a 588 and 587 on the season. The Nanook one-two punch is also among the individual leaders as well in air rifle having posted a 594 (Anderson & Sherry) and a 595 (Sherry) during the first half of the season.
Kentucky has proven itself a worthy adversary and has the scores and athletes to prove it. USA Shooting National Team members Emily Holsopple (Wilcox, Pa.) and Connor Davis (Shelbyville, Ky.) form a strong duo as Holsopple is tied with Anderson as the top scorer in smallbore this season while Davis has posted five scores of 594 or better in Air Rifle, the most of any air rifle competitor on the season. Both Nanooks and Wildcats own seven of the top-nine scores posted on the season.
Defending National Champion West Virginia will be a force to reckon with again come March as Maren Prediger is a dominant force in the Air Rifle event having posted two scores of 599 and the third best score of 596. Teammate Garrett Spurgeon (Canton, Mo.) is among the nation’s leaders as well with a posted high score of 586 in smallbore.
Other noteworthy performances thus far on the season comes from National Junior Olympic champion Meredith Carpentier (Waukegan, Ill.) of the U.S. Air Force Academy who has scored a 595 in air rifle as well as National Development Team member Daniel Hermsmeier (Chesterfield, Mo.) of Memphis University with a 594 in the same event.
Top Individual Smallbore Performances (thru November 24)
Score Athlete School Date
590 Tim Sherry UAF 11/24
589 Ryan Anderson UAF 11/9
Emily Holsopple Kentucky 11/2 & 11/9
588 Amanda Luoma Ohio State 10/26
Tim Sherry UAF 11/23
587 Emily Holsopple Kentucky 10/19
Tim Sherry UAF 11/9
586 Ryan Anderson UAF 11/7
Joseph Todaro Army 11/16
Garrett Spurgeon West Virginia 10/26, 11/3 & 11/16
Megan Lee TCU 10/6
Top Individual Air Rifle Performances (thru November 24)
Score Athlete School Date
599 Maren Prediger WVU 10/5 & 11/2
596 Maren Prediger WVU 10/26
595 Connor Davis Kentucky 10/19, 10/25, 11/9 & 11/24
Meredith Carpentier Air Force 10/19
Tim Sherry UAF 11/24
594 Dan Hermsmeier Memphis 10/27
Emily Holsopple Kentucky 10/27
Connor Davis Kentucky 11/2
Tim Sherry UAF 11/7
Ryan Anderson UAF 11/23
Top Team Performances Combined (Air & Smallbore)
Score School Date
4702 UAF 11/23
4695 UAF 11/24
4694 Kentucky 11/2
4693 Kentucky 11/9
4692 UAF 11/9
4690 WVU 11/3
4689 Kentucky 11/24
4688 Kentucky 10/19
4681 WVU 11/2
Image courtesy USA Shooting