2000-01 Season Outlook
The 2000-2001 season will be an exciting one for the Falcon Rifle team. Coming off of a 7th place NCAA Championship ranking last year, the team is excited and eager to improve their ranking. The team will be led by C1C (Senior) Kevin Mandrik. As the Team Captain, Cadet Mandrik will be working with a fairly experienced team. Joining Mandrik as returning starters are C1C Rachael Westergren and C1C Daimon Geopfert.
Together, these three upper class cadets will make the core of our team. While the three senior cadets battle for the top spot, other returning team members and new walk-on members will be vying for the remaining travel spots. Travel is something that the Falcon rifle team has done since 1992 for every single practice and competition. From 1992-2000, the team practiced and competed at the US Olympic Training Center in downtown Colorado Springs. No more.
The Falcons are finally back home. In the spring of 2000 the US Air Force Academy completed construction on a new indoor 50 foot firing range. The range has 12 shooting lanes and allows for the shooting of both .22 caliber rifle and air rifle at the same time. With an intermediate stop at 33 feet, shooters can practice both disciplines as needed. With a team size of 12-13 active shooters, the range is perfect for team training and easy access to the Coach and Assistant Coach.
2nd Lt Beau Nicewanner has delayed his pilot training for a year to remain at the Academy and help coach what promises to be one of the most interesting years in the Academy rifle team in a long while. Being back at the Academy for all practices and home competitions will allow the team to practice more and practice more effectively than in the recent past.
A new addition to the team training plan is the Rika electronic shooting trainer. This technologically superior device helps the coaching staff analyze and correct the shooting performance of the team members. The shooter and staff can see and analyze performance parameters not apparent to the naked eye: exact cant of the rifle, heart rate, trigger pressure and exact hold tracing over time.
The 2000-2001 tryouts yielded 5 new fourth class (Freshman) cadets all shooting better than many second and third year shooters. All in all, the team this year has everything in place to once again make it to the NCAA Championships. On the way there, the team will compete against regional teams such as Wyoming and UT El Paso as well as other top 10 ranked teams. The team schedule is a balance of close competitions to gain match experience and competition with top ranked teams to work under pressure. The team is well on its way to double qualifying for the NCAA Championships in both Air Rifle and Smallbore .22 rifle.