Rifle Team Falls to Nebraska
The Air Force Rifle team dropped its first match of the season to the University of Nebraska Huskers on Oct. 22-23. On Friday, Oct. 22, Nebraska outscored Air Force, 4616-4555. On Saturday, Oct. 23, Air Force improved slightly, but Nebraska kept a slight lead and won by a score of 4605-4565.
Junior Christopher Hill was the highest smallbore shooter on either team on Friday. Chris shot a solid 583/600 and a 95/100 in the final. His 678 aggregate was the highest individual score. Hill is on track to be an NRA All-American again this year. Team captain Matt Colvin was the highest falcon shooter in air rifle with a 575/600. Hill and Colvin were tied after 10 shots in the final and had to go four extra shots to break the tie. Hill ended up shooting a better tie breaker than Colvin. Other Falcon notables on Friday were junior Tim Siemer, who shot a solid 574/600 in smallbore and sophomore walk-on Jessica Palomba who shot a personal record 573/600 in air rifle. This was the first NCAA match for Palomba.
Saturday, the Falcons improved the air gun scores and dropped a little in the smallbore event. All told though, the team raised the aggregate score 10 points. On Saturday, Hill once again was the highest Falcon smallbore shooter with a 580/600 followed by Colvin with a 574/600. Palomba Chris Hill tied in air rifle on Saturday with 576/600. Both shot 97/100 in the final. Colvin was only one point behind his teammates during qualification for the final. Junior Edward Gallagher was the fourth highest falcon in air rifle with a 568/600.
The Huskers had very solid performances in air rifle with four or more shooters at or above 580/600 each day. While the match was very close each day in smallbore, Nebraska was able to win the match with very strong air rifle scores. Overall, the Falcon performances were at or above practice match scores going in to the contest. Many personal bests were set and steady progress towards the NCAA Qualifier and Championships.
The team was able to travel most of the roster for this trip to help some of our younger and new shooters get valuable match experience. Shooting for their first time in NCAA rifle were freshmen Thomas Bender, Justin Raines, Julie Wiatr and Benjamin Burdette. All did as expected or better for their first contest and we are looking for great things to come from each of them.
The Falcons will compete next against Army, Navy and Coast Guard at the Coast Guard Academy on Nov. 6. The Presidents Cup on Nov. 6 is an annual all-service academies. While Navy and Army are favored to be first and second, the Falcon team is looking at this match as another step towards the ultimate goal of beating those teams at the NCAA Championships.