Feb. 15, 2013
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -
The 13th-ranked Navy rifle team will host John Jay in the NCAA Qualifier on Saturday at 9 a.m. at the Bancroft Hall Rifle Range. The match will play a significant role in determining whether or not the Midshipmen qualify for the NCAA Championship.
"I think we'll see our highest score of the season," said Navy head coach Billy Kelley. "We shot our best scores in practice over the past two weeks. The performances have been great."
Saturday's match will count as half of the total in the NCAA Championship qualification process. The other half comes from an average of three matches shot previously this season. The NCAA then adds the two scores together and the top eight teams will qualify for the national tournament, held March 8-9 in Columbus, Ohio. Currently ranked No. 13 in the nation, Navy would have to move up five slots to qualify.
Despite dropping their last two matches, the Mids fired their second-highest overall score of the season, 4620, against Army. They also posted their second-best air rifle score of 2333 against the Black Knights on Feb. 2.
The Mids top overall score of 4623 and air rifle total of 2341 came at home in October against University of the Sciences. Navy's best smallbore total 2301 also came against USP, but on Jan. 19 on the road.
Senior Captain Ryan Williams leads Navy in air rifle average (585.3) and ranks second on the team in smallbore average (570.8). Junior Steven Frazier leads in smallbore average (577.7).
Freshmen Jodi Cull-Host and Zach Gibson have been two of Navy's top contributors this season. Cull-Host ranks second on the team in air rifle average at 582.1 and her smallbore average of 565.2 is fourth highest on the squad. Gibson ranks third in smallbore average at 567.7 and fourth in air rifle average at 576.5.
"The younger kids are more ready for this weekend now with a season under their belts," said Kelley. "We're in good shape. This is it and I think we're ready."
Kelley also credits the team's sports psychologist with aiding in bringing the young team along this season.
"Jess Mohler has helped us a lot this season," said Kelley. "I think a lot of what she taught our team has been very helpful."