The Academy’s rifle team finished third at the Presidents Cup
The Academy's rifle team finished third at the Presidents Cup match on Saturday, Nov. 6. The annual Presidents Cup was hosted by the U.S. Coast Guard in New London, Conn., between the services academies (Air Force, Army, Coast Guard and Navy).
The Presidents Cup match is a different format than regular NCAA matches. This match allowed each school to have eight shooters in each event, smallbore and air rifle. Unlike normal matches where each team is identified before shooting, this match counted the top five scores in each gun for each school.
"Unfortunately we are not deep enough to defeat Army and Navy with this configuration," said Air Force head coach Justin Broughton. "Overall, the team continued to improve over the performance level at Nebraska and is still working towards the goal of qualifying for the NCAA Championships."
The team leader in smallbore continued to be Christopher Hill, who shot a solid 582/600, right on his average for the year. Hill was second out of all the service academy cadets in the smallbore event. Top honors went to Josh Albright of Navy who fired a 588/600. Hill also topped the Falcon list in air rifle with a 584/600, a personal best for him. Right behind Hill in air rifle was junior Tim Siemer who shot a 581/600, another personal record. Third on the roster was freshman Justin Raines. Raines shot a personal best 570/600 in air rifle in his third ever NCAA match. First year shooter sophomore Jessica Palomba continued to amaze the team with solid air rifle scores for most of the match with a 566/600. The fifth member of the team was Michelle Bonneau who had a good performance with 564/600.
According to Broughton, "The team had a scary flashback to last year when Matt Colvin and Edward Gallagher were lost for most of the season to injuries not related to shooting." On Saturday, Colvin had knee problems that prevented him from firing the kneeling position, amounting to 1/3 of the smallbore points possible.
Gallagher had a flare up of a previous back injury that prevented him from shooting in air rifle, his strongest event. "Much like last year, the team had to cope with injuries and use team members for the counting scores that were not anticipated. Rifle is not a sport that normally has to work around injuries during the course of a day," said Broughton.
Next week, the Falcons host the New Mexico Military Institute, Nevada and UTEP on Saturday, Nov. 13 and Sunday, Nov. 14.
Presidents Cup Team Results
1. NAVY -Smallbore 2897, Air 2926 Total: 5823
2. ARMY -Smallbore 2885, Air 2923 Total: 5808
3. USAFA - Smallbore 2817, Air 2865 Total: 5682
4. Coast Guard - Smallbore 2744, Air 2836 Total: 5580