U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo. – The No. 8 Air Force rifle team will be off the remainder of November. The Winter Airgun Championships beginning Nov. 30 to Dec. 3, at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. The rifle team will compete in this annual event, which is sponsored by U.S.A. Shooting.
Last Time Out: No. 8 Air Force was host to No. 5 Kentucky, conference opponent No. 6 Ohio State and No. 10 Nebraska. The teams shot back-to-back on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 18-19, at the Falcon Rifle Range.
Air Force Rifle Athlete of the Week (Nov. 20): Senior Spencer Brandon (Kingsport, Tenn.) -- Brandon had the team’s best performances with aggregate scoring. Brandon registered aggregates of 1174 and 1166 against his opponents. He finished the weekend fourth in the top individual rankings.
AFA’s Top Individuals: Shooting in the weekend’s matches, Brandon had the team’s best performances in aggregate scoring. In two days of shooting, Brandon registered season highs with an aggregate 1174 and a smallbore score of 580. On day one, he posted the eighth-highest score (1166) against his opponents. The next day he moved up in the top individual rankings, finishing fourth overall with his season highs of 1174 and 580 in smallbore. He also had a 594 in air rifle.
On the first day, freshman Nate Peterson was ranked eighth on the individual smallbore standings with a 578 and had a 586 in air rifle to finish with a score of 1164. The following day, he improved his scoring and finished just two points behind the top-two shooters in the smallbore standings with a 585 personal best. He finished the day with a 580 in air rifle and improved his final score by one point (1165).
Also adding to the team’s final scores, and also finishing in the top 10, junior Anna Weilbacher finished the weekend ranked seventh on the top individual scoring with an aggregate 1169, shooting a 577 in smallbore and 592 in air rifle, which improved on her first day’s total of 1163. Weilbacher also has the team’s highest individual average this fall with an aggregate 1168.428.
Junior Nick Learn finished the weekend on the top 10 list, ranked ninth with a total score of 1166, which was a 23-point improvement over his previous day’s score.
Personal-Best Marks: Most of the team’s newcomers improved on their individual scores this weekend. Belle Toney posted a personal best with an aggregate score 1146. While only shooting in three of the seven matches this fall, Mary Maystrovich posted an aggregate best 1148. Freshman Sarah Sawicki has the team’s second highest average (1160.143) for the season.
Team Scoring: Kentucky swept both days with a 4696 and 4687. Ohio State was second with team scores of 4686 and 4682. Air Force and Nebraska tied with scores of 4663 and 4672. However, Air Force finished in third place as the ties were determined by the center count of the eight counting team scores. On day one, Air Force scored a 2301 in smallbore and 2362 in air rifle (4663). The next day, the team squads posted a 2308 in smallbore. They also posted a 2364 in air rifle, the aggregate (4672) were both team highs for this season.
Team Standing: Air Force is averaging 4658.857 on the first half of the season. Air Force is now 7-8 and 0-7 in Patriot Rifle Conference matches.
Air Force Ranked: As of Nov. 21, Air Force is ranked No. 8 in the Collegiate Rifle Coaches Association rankings.
Weekend Outlook: The Falcons are off this weekend. The rifle team will pick up action later in the month as they participate in the 2017 Winter Airgun Championships (smallbore and air rifle). The men’s events are scheduled for Thursday-Friday, Nov. 30-Dec. 1, while the women will compete on Saturday-Sunday, Dec. 2-3.
Following the Winter Airgun Championships, Air Force will be home (no matches scheduled) until January 20.
Johnson on board: This is Assistant coach Dave Johnson first season with the Falcons. Johnson was officially hired in September as the Falcons’ assistant coach.
Ready to compete: The Air Force Falcons welcome four new shooters to the roster. On the roster are freshmen Mary Maystrovich (Nine Mile Falls, Wash., Nate Peterson (Sharpsburg, Ga.), Sarah Sawicki (East Brunswick, N.J.), and Belle Toney (Farmington, N.M.).
Returning starters: The quartet of freshmen will join returning starters, senior Spencer Brandon (Kingsport, Tenn.), juniors Spencer Cap (Cranbury, N.J.), Nick Learn (South Ridge, Wis.), and Anna Weilbacher (Leona Valley, Calif.), and sophomores, Kyle Cox (Montrose, Colo.), and Logan Ogden (Galway, N.Y.).
For more information on the Air Force Falcons rifle team, follow @AF_Falcons on Twitter or like the Air Force Academy Rifle team page on Facebook.