Jan. 17, 2013
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -
After approximately two months off from competition, the Navy rifle squad will return to action this weekend for a pair of matches against University of the Sciences. The Mids and Devils will meet at 2 p.m. on Friday and again at 8 a.m. on Saturday in Philadelphia, Pa.
Navy is 1-2 in dual meets this season and Friday will mark its first match since a loss at No. 2 Kentucky on Nov. 10. The No. 2 Wildcats were just one of the highly ranked opponents the young Navy team faced in the fall. The Mids also traveled to top-ranked West Virginia and met No. 8 Army and No. 11 Air Force at the annual President's Trophy match.
The tough schedule hasn't deterred the young Mids, which have just two upperclassmen on the roster.
"I think the pressure and experience of competing against some of the top teams made us realize it's just another match," said Navy head coach Bill Kelley. "I really believe that stepping on the line against these other teams has helped us, especially mentally. The unease that you sometimes feel about taking on top teams is no longer there."
Navy will look to use this weekend to improve its chances for making the NCAA Championships.
"I think we're in striking distance for making the NCAA Championships," said Kelley. "We typically shoot really well in Philadelphia, as in the past it has always been one of our NCAA qualifying scores."
Navy hit its top smallbore score of 2290 twice during the fall, while its highest total in the air rifle, 2341, came against University of the Sciences on Oct. 13. Navy defeated the Devils in Annapolis, 4623-4334.
Entering this weekend, Steven Frazier leads Navy in smallbore average at 578.2, while Ryan Williams leads in air rifle average at 585.8.
The Mids enter the weekend ranked 13th in the latest CRCA national poll, released on Jan. 15.