Collegiate Rifle: Akron Establishes New Records At Weekend Doubleheader vs. Ole Miss, WVU, Ohio State

Last weekend the Akron rifle team posted the second highest score in program history, along with a new team air rifle record. Akron faced Ole Miss, West Virginia and Ohio State at home Jan. 21-22, 2023.

posted on January 26, 2023
Jan2023 Akron 3
The Akron Zips rifle team will host the 2023 NCAA Rifle Championship and is aiming to crack the top eight to earn a tournament berth.
Newt Engle

The competition ranges were buzzing with excitement all weekend as the No. 10 Akron rifle team went head-to-head with No. 3 West Virginia, No. 5 Ole Miss and No. 11 Ohio State. Akron hosted the competition, which was held the weekend of January 21-22.

By the end of Saturday, Akron had nearly upset the Rebels after posting a 4707 score to 4708 from Ole Miss. Akron rifle’s team score marks the second-highest team effort in program history. Akron backed up a solid 2330 smallbore performance with an outstanding 2377 in air rifle. The air score shattered the previous school record of 2374 set one year ago at Nebraska.

Samantha Shultz, Akron rifle team
Akron rifle team junior Samantha Shultz of Fort Wayne, Ind., on the firing line at the weekend matches. (Photo by Newt Engle)


Two Akron rifle team shooters—junior Gavin Perkowski and sophomore Lex Kirk—fired dual 596 scores to tie for the match top-gun award. Note that the school individual record for air rifle is 597, while freshman Rachael Paddock appeared above the 590 line with a new career-high score of 592. Akron rifle had a total of five team members above the 590 mark, with nearly every other team member in the upper 580s.

With a quick turnaround, Akron rifle did it again on Sunday with the West Virginia Mountaineers and the Ohio State Buckeyes. Even though the win-loss did not turn out the way the team wished, I find it amazing we can shoot a team score of 4695 and feel dejected. The truth is Akron rifle performed above average in a major meeting of some NCAA powerhouses.

Akron rifle team
About Akron rifle’s performance at the match, Head Coach Newt Engle said, “this team was absolutely on fire Saturday and has the depth to stay that way.” (Photo by Newt Engle)


Let me take a moment to point out how close is close. Each pull of the trigger can score up to 10 points. Our athletes must hit the nearly invisible dot in the center of this target to get 10 points, or a dot about the size of the period at the end of this sentence. The first ring away from the dot is the nine-ring, which is worth nine points. Each athlete fires 120 shots in a match with each team firing 480 shots worth up to 4,800 points. So, when a NCAA rifle team score difference is only one point (win or lose), that is close, really close. At any time during the match, a point can easily be gained or lost in the blink of an eye. Talk about body control and concentration.

More concentration will take place for the Akron Zips when the team travels to the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington Va., for the final regular season match on Saturday, February 4. Akron rifle will face off against VMI and Jacksonville State beginning at 9 a.m. sharp.

Rifle team match
Akron rifle posted its second-highest team score (4707) in program history at home against Ole Miss on January 21. (Photo by Newt Engle)


See the latest CRCA rankings below.

Collegiate Rifle Coaches Association Top 20 Rankings

  1. Texas Christian University
  2. University of Alaska-Fairbanks
  3. West Virginia University
  4. Kentucky
  5. Ole Miss
  6. Nebraska
  7. Murray State
  8. Air Force
  9. Navy
  10. Akron
  11. Ohio State
  12. Memphis
  13. North Carolina State
  14. Morehead State
  15. Jacksonville State
  16. Georgia Southern
  17. Army
  18. North Georgia
  19. University of Tennessee-Martin
  20. The Citadel

Above rankings are current as of Monday, January 23.

Below are the most up-to-date top eight NCAA rifle team standings as of this writing (Thursday, January 26). Each year, the top eight rifle teams with the highest aggregate scores are invited to the NCAA tournament.

NCAA Top 8 Rifle Teams | January 26, 2023
(Screengrab courtesy NCAA)


See the NCAA scorecard for the Ole Miss vs. Akron January 21 match here.
See the NCAA scorecard for the Akron vs. WVU and Ohio State January 22 match here.
Learn more about the Akron rifle team at


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