Rifle team scores its first win of the season
The Air Force Academy rifle team started the season off with a win over the University of Missouri-Kansas City. On Saturday, the Falcons hosted the Kangaroos at the Academy's rifle range. Air Force scored 2,287 in smallbore .22 rifle and 2,289 in air rifle for a cumulative 4,576. The Kangaroos scored an overall 4,499, scoring 2,229 in smallbore and 2,270 in air rifle. The balanced score for the Falcons was a solid start to the season. Senior and team captain Chris Hill led the Falcons in smallbore with a 575/600. Junior Jessica Palomba led the Falcons in air rifle with a 581. Even though the Falcons did not have the highest scores in each gun, the well-balanced scores are the foundation that the Air Force coaches are looking for as the year goes on. UMKC's Kilee Courter was the high smallbore shooter with 579 and Calee Courter had the high air rifle score of 583.
"We were very impressed with the composure of our new shooters in their first NCAA match of the year," said Coach Broughton.
AFA's Clifton Mulkey had a 572 in smallbore and a 570 in air rifle as a freshman member of the first-team. Freshman Andrew Cooper also gained a lot of experience on the first-team, shooting a 566/600 in air rifle. Palomba's 569 X 600 in smallbore and 581 X 600 gave her an aggregate score of 1,150, which made her the high-overall shooter for the Falcons.
"I felt confident going into the match and the support from the rest of the team really helped me finish strong," said Palomba. Palomba also scored a perfect string of 100 X 100 in the air rifle event, the only one posted by either team in that event. "I felt the intensity building as I worked shot-by-shot, and the stress really compounded on the last shot. I closed my eyes, pulled the trigger, and hoped for a ten." She got the ten and finished with a personal record on the USAFA range.
The match this weekend had the desired result of getting the team warmed up for the season and used to the NCAA college match process. "We validated a lot of our process as well as identified some fine details to work on over the next couple of weeks." said Broughton.
The next match for the Falcons will be a double-header road trip against the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, Neb., Oct. 22-23.