Collegiate Rifle: Despite Strong Showing At NCAA Qualifier, Akron Falls Short Of Invite

At the NCAA Qualifier Match last weekend at Ohio State, the Akron rifle team finished the regular season ranked No. 11.

posted on February 21, 2023
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Last weekend, two Ohio collegiate rifle teams—Akron and Ohio State, along with Nebraska, came together in Columbus, Ohio, for one of the final matches of the season.
Newt Engle

If a year ago, you told me that a team would have to average more than 4710—and shoot even higher at the NCAA qualifier to get above the eight-team cut line—I would have laughed. Well, I am not laughing now. Here we are at the end of the regular season, and the Akron rifle team has battled and fought through this spring to break multiple school records and amassing the needed three scores averaging over 4710 to receive a NCAA invitation. However, at the Ohio State qualifier match on the road in Columbus this past the weekend, Akron fell a few points short of meeting the mark. Even though Akron rifle fired slightly above average, the Ohio State and Nebraska teams maintained their rankings ahead.

Akron Zips rifle team
The Akron Zips rifle team at Ohio State University. Newt Engle, the Akron rifle team coach, said, “I simply have a hard time believing we can walk off the range with a team score of 4698 and feel disappointed.” (Photo by Newt Engle)


There are many Akron success stories. For example, look at the smallbore results. Five of the eight Zips fired in the 580s, led by junior Gavin Perkowski’s 585 out of the possible 600. Then, as if out of nowhere, arrives senior Brendan Seitz smashing his previous smallbore record and replacing it with an amazing 584 score. This was an above average day on the smallbore range.

Same for air rifle, only this time six of the eight Zips entered the 590s. Akron’s Lex Kirk battled to finish as the overall number three air rifle athlete at the match with her 594 out of the possible 600 score. In this day of getting close, this score will end up having almost earned Kirk an individual invitation to the NCAA rifle championship. But not this year. Just like in smallbore, another above average and strong day for Akron on the air rifle range.

Rifle: Akron vs. OSU 2023
After the match last weekend at Ohio State, Akron rifle is ranked No. 11 in the NCAA Team Standings. (Photo by Newt Engle)


Match Scorecard

  1. Nebraska, 4709
  2. Ohio State, 4702
  3. Akron, 4698

See the full match scorecard here.

Last weekend’s match marked the end of the regular season for Akron, and the team walked away from the match as the No. 11 ranked NCAA rifle team in the country. The top eight teams will earn a berth in the 2023 rifle championship, along with individual athlete selections. See below the most current NCAA team top 20 standings. (Taken from the 2023 NCAA rifle team selection website on Tuesday, February 21.)

NCAA Rifle Team Top 20 Standings

  1. Texas Christian University, 9498.67
  2. West Virginia University, 9489.33
  3. University of Alaska-Fairbanks, 9482.33
  4. Murray State, 9461
  5. Kentucky, 9456.67
  6. Ole Miss, 9456
  7. Nebraska, 9429.67
  8. Air Force, 9424.33
  9. Navy
  10. Memphis
  11. Akron
  12. Ohio State
  13. North Carolina State
  14. Jacksonville State
  15. Army
  16. Morehead State
  17. Georgia Southern
  18. North Georgia
  19. The Citadel
  20. University of Tennessee at Martin

Additionally, Akron rifle qualified to attend the post-season Great America Rifle Conference (GARC) championships to be held this weekend at West Virginia University in Morgantown, W.V. This eight-member conference is always one of the highest attended conference championships in the U.S., as many of the top-rated teams, including Akron, will battle for the title of GARC champion. The match begins on Saturday, February 25, with smallbore rifle, followed the next day with the air rifle championships.

Akron is hosting the 2023 NCAA rifle championship, which will be held from March 10-11 at the James A. Rhodes Arena in Akron, Ohio. Individual and team competition in smallbore is scheduled for Friday, March 10, and air rifle on Saturday, March 11.

Learn more about the Akron, Ohio State and Nebraska rifle teams.


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