The No. 4-ranked Kentucky rifle team won the 2018 NCAA National Championship, held at the Citadel’s McAlister Field House over the weekend. Kentucky had an aggregate score of 4717. This is the school’s second-ever national championship win. Kentucky previously won the rifle championship in 2011. This victory marked the end of a streak of five consecutive national titles by the No.1-ranked West Virginia University (WVU) rifle team.
“I couldn’t be more proud of this team,” said Kentucky rifle head coach Harry Mullins. “The team worked through obstacles to enhance their performance. [They embraced] the challenge and overcoming things all season was a large part of their success this weekend. Throughout the whole tournament, they never panicked and pushed for every point.”
Kentucky’s squad included newly-minted air rifle national champion Henrik Larsen and junior Hanna Carr. In the final, Larsen initially trailed before coming back back to shoot a 249. A freshman, Larsen is the first Kentucky shooter to win the individual air rifle NCAA title since Connor Davis in 2014. Carr just missed the air rifle final, but still managed to shoot a 593—her third-highest score this season.
A championship showing in air rifle by the WVU rifle team was not enough to overcome the 18-point deficit, finishing in second place with a 4708 aggregate score.
WVU claimed the team air rifle championship with a 2381 total score. This is its sixth straight air rifle victory. Additionally, WVU sophomore Morgan Phillips won the individual smallbore championship during the first day of the tournament.
“I love this team’s heart and its fight,” said WVU rifle head coach Jon Hammond. “I was proud of this team all year. We had a great team this year. We broke records and had a wonderful year. We came down here and shot our best, and that was our goal.”
No. 2-ranked TCU finished third with a 4701 score, and No. 3 Murray State was in fourth place with a 4684 total. Air Force shot 4669 and placed fifth, while Alaska-Fairbanks finished sixth with a 4667 score. Ohio State and Nebraska finished seventh and eighth overall.
National Rifle Association and CRCA All-America honors will be awarded later.
Photos courtesy of UK Athletics