Kentucky rifle awaits championship decision after concluding NCAA qualifier

Aaron Benjamin, Reporter

Kentucky rifle posted an NCAA qualifying score of 4716 on Saturday afternoon inside Barker Hall. This number consisted of a 2335 smallbore score and a 2381 air rifle score.  

That score was combined with the team’s aggregate average, an average of its three best regular season scores at three separate locations.

The three scores that were used for the Cats were a 4742 from its meet against Navy and North Georgia at home on Oct. 29, a 4741 shot on Nov. 19 at Ole Miss and the 4739 that was fired against Georgia Southern in Fairbanks, Alaska, on Jan. 15. 

The eight highest teams will qualify for the NCAA Championship, which is set to be held from March 10-11 in Akron, Ohio.

Those eight teams will be decided shortly after Monday, Feb. 20, at 3 p.m. EST, the time set for the NCAA Selection Show, which can be found on 

Aside from the Cats, in-state opponent Morehead State also competed in Lexington. The Eagles scored a 2288 in smallbore and 2355 in the air rifle portion. 

Individually, freshman Sofia Ceccarello led the field with a combined score of 1183. She was followed by fifth-year seniors Richard Clark and Will Shaner, who scored 1181 and 1178 respectively to earn second and third overall.

Freshman Martin Voss also scored 1174 and fifth-year senior Mitchell Nelson, who scored a 1172.

Senior Emmie Sellers and sophomore Allison Buesseler also placed sixth and seventh with aggregate scores of 1169 and 1168.

Sophomore Kayla Kalenza would record a 1166 and would tie Morehead State’s Cassidy Wilson, the only MSU participant to land in the top 10.

Senior Mason Hamilton would round out the top 10 with a score of 1164. 

Across the events Kentucky was represented by three super seniors, Shaner, Clark and Nelson, as well as three traditional seniors, Sellers, Thompson and Hamilton.

The group is responsible for two national championships and four GARC regular season championships during their tenure. 

“It was a great day honoring our seniors and I am so proud of Will, Richard, Mitchell, Mason, Emmie, and Jaden,” UK head coach Harry Mullins said of his parting seniors to UK Athletics. “All six have meant so much to our program in their own special ways. They have come in every day with a positive attitude and worked hard.”

With the qualifiers in the books, Kentucky will take part in the GARC Championships next weekend from Feb. 25-26 in Morgantown, West Virginia.