DAHLONEGA, Ga. – The University of North Georgia mixed rifle team started the second half of their season in grand style this past weekend, defeating both the men's and women's teams from The Citadel in NCAA competition with a come from behind victory in the last event.
The air rifle event was contested on Saturday, Jan. 19 with 14th-ranked North Carolina State opening a strong lead on the field with a team score of 2325/2400. The Citadel men's team posted a score of 2266, a mere seven points ahead of the Saints' 2259 score. Wofford took fourth with 2198 and The Citadel women wrapped up the first day fifth with a score of 2188.
The Saints started the season with over 50 points behind The Citadel in the air rifle event but closed that gap to a razor thin seven-point margin with this weekend's competition.
North Georgia relied on four true freshmen: Casadie Bragg (576/600), Sara Howell (558), Cadet Kyle Bailey (568) and Cadet Ryan Moran (557) to close that gap. Bragg finished fourth in the individual event standings behind three NC State athletes.
Also competing for the Saints were junior Evan Bates, sophomores Cadet Luke Duncan, Chris Tam, John Nicholson and Wyndle Bates along with freshmen Cadet Andrew Abernathy, Cadet Hyland Braddy and Rachel Hamilton.
The excitement heightened on the second day of competition, Sunday, Jan. 20, in the three-position smallbore (.22) rifle event with three schools and four teams competing. NC State posted a score of 2269/2400 to again grab the lead.
The battle between UNG and The Citadel was again very close. The Saints posted a team score of 2161 to sweep both the men's (2146) and women's (1984) teams from The Citadel in the event. The 15-point margin over the men was enough to overcome the previous day's deficit to give the Saints the overall win against The Citadel.
Cadet Duncan, the team captain, led the Saints to victory in the smallbore event with a score of 553/600, followed closely by Bragg (552), Moran (530) and Howell (526). Duncan and Bragg took sixth and seventh respectively in the individual event standings behind five NC State student-athletes. Abernathy and Evan Bates posted personal records in the event.
The Saints return to action on Saturday, Feb. 2 at 8:00 am when they host No. 10 Memphis and No. 14 NC State in both air rifle and smallbore events. The matches will be held at the Col. Hamilton Range on the Dahlonega campus. The event will be the last home match of the season for the Saints. All are welcome and admission is free.