Story by head coach Tori Kostecki
DAHLONEGA, Ga. – Last weekend, the University of North Georgia mixed rifle team traveled to The Citadel for a Southeastern Air Rifle (SEARC) conference tournament and the National Rifle Association (NRA) Sectionals.
The NRA Sectionals is a national championship event used for NCAA championship selections.
In the three-position smallbore rifle event, 14th-ranked North Carolina State University took the overall win with a score of 2,287/2,400. UNG took second and prevailed over The Citadel men's team in a hard fought NCAA match with their close rival. The margin of victory was a razor thin one point – 2,212 to 2,211. The Citadel women's team took 4th with 2,061 points.
Freshmen Casadie Bragg (572/600), Cadet Ryan Moran (549), sophomore team captain Cadet Luke Duncan (548) and freshman Sara Howell (517) contributed to the team score. Individually, Bragg took fourth and Moran 10th.
Bragg broke the UNG school record for smallbore, completing her hat trick this season of breaking all three individual school records: air rifle, smallbore rifle and aggregate. The team school record for smallbore was also broken by 34 points.
In air rifle, N.C. State (2,236/2,400) again took claimed first place, with The Citadel men's team (2,291) placing second. UNG was close behind in third with a score of 2270. Finishing behind UNG were Wofford (2,242), The Citadel women's team (2,225), and University of Alabama Birmingham (2,206).
Combining for the Saints were Bragg (581/600), sophomore Cadet Chris Tiller (564), freshman Cadet Kyle Bailey (563), and Howell (562). Bragg finished fifth in the individual standings in a very tightly packed top-6. The top 13 places all fell within a slim 15-point range.
The Saints continue to improve from year to year and within this season. In addition to Bragg breaking all three UNG individual school records at least once this season, the team has done the same thing with all three UNG team school records. In Saturday's match, the Saints raised the school record for aggregate (air rifle and smallbore combined) once again, this time by 42 points to 4,482/4,800.
The Saints will next travel back to The Citadel to complete their season at the Southeastern Air Rifle Conference championship on Saturday, Mar. 2.