Rifle Team Looks to Score Big in Fort Worth
This weekend the USAFA NCAA Rifle Team will travel to Ft. Worth, Texas, to compete against Texas Christian University in a dual match which is sure to produce some season-best scores.
Representing the Falcons on this trip are Team Captain C1C Matthew Colvin, C2C Quinn Gallagher, C2C Christopher Hill, C2C Tim Siemer, C3C Michelle Bonneau, C3C Jessica Palomba, C3C Andrew Simpson, and C4C Justin Raines. On the morning of the competition, Coaches Capt Justin Broughton and Lt Col Bill Roy will select two four-person teams to compete in the air rifle and smallbore events.
This competition is especially important to the Falcons because it is the last head-to-head competition prior to the NCAA qualifying match at USAFA on Feb. 12-13. At that match, the Falcons' scores will be ranked among all other NCAA rifle teams in the country, and the top eight teams will earn an invitation to the NCAA Championships at the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs on March 12-13.
"The TCU match is an important one for us" said Broughton, "We need to prove to ourselves that we're at the competitive level to qualify for the NCAA Championships. All eight of the shooters competing at this match have the potential to shoot 579 or better [out of 600], and I expect that we'll even record some personal bests." Broughton speculated that a score of at least 579 by each team shooter at the qualifying match would result in an NCAA invitation.
The hot-shooting Falcons in recent matches are Hill and Colvin. Hill and Colvin will represent the Falcons as members of both the air rifle and smallbore teams, the only cadets to double up as team members in those events. The coaches also expect big performances from Siemer and Palomba, who are proving to be among the team's most consistent performers. Watch also for Raines, who has improved his personal-best three times this season. However, Roy noted that "our real strength is our sense of the team and our ability to step up our performance when one team member isn't shooting well. Any one of our shooters can really have a breakthrough event and help the team."
Since TCU is in a rebuilding year, the Falcons are focused more on themselves as their biggest competition. Their primary goal will be to shoot a team-aggregate match score of 4632 X 4800, which would be an Academy record. "It's well within our reach," said Roy, "and I absolutely believe we can do it."