Collegiate Rifle: No. 13 Akron Drops Two In Double-Header At Kentucky

No. 9 Kentucky and No. 6 Ole Miss proved to be too hot to handle for the No. 13-ranked Akron rifle team.

posted on November 6, 2023
Akron Nov2023 DOUBLEHEADER 1
Despite back-to-back losses to Kentucky and Ole Miss at a double-header in Lexington, Ky., November 3-4, Akron rifle and its student-athletes’ efforts provided several high points worth noting.
Newt Engle

In a double-header weekend for No. 13 Akron in Lexington, Kentucky, the Zips rifle team faced off against the No. 9-ranked University of Kentucky team on Friday, November 3, and No. 6 Ole Miss on Saturday, November 4. Although the Wildcats and Rebels rifle teams both left the door open for a potential upset victories, Akron neglected to step through the door.

Akron rifle team
This past weekend’s double-header did raise the Akron rifle team’s average, albeit slightly. “I can guarantee this is just the beginning of what this team can do,” Akron Head Coach Newt Engle said. “Hold on to your hats, this is going to be a fun ride.” (Photo by Newt Engle)


During Friday’s match against Kentucky, Akron’s smallbore rifles were hot. A total of five Akron competitors broke into the 580s, led by junior Lex Kirk who fired an outstanding 587. She was followed closely by senior Erin Schnupp with a 586. At the end of the smallbore round, Akron was only seven points behind Kentucky. Then, going into the air rifle division, it seemed as if Akron’s rifles cooled down just a little, except for senior Gavin Perkowski, who lit up the board with a fine 595. At the end of the day, Kentucky earned the win in the team aggregate, 4714-4696.

The top individual in the aggregate at the Akron vs. Kentucky match was Kentucky sophomore Sofia Ceccarello with a score of 1185 (air rifle 597, smallbore 588).

Akron at Kentucky results
Results of the Akron at Kentucky match on November 3, 2023. (Screenshot courtesy of NCAA)


Saturday, while still at Kentucky, Akron entered the range to go head-to-head with Ole Miss. Granted, while smallbore started out slightly behind the previous day, Lex Kirk proceeded with her 585 smallbore score to direct Akron. However, with the air rifles, the Zips had a fire in their heart as they proceeded to capture the top three positions in the match. Coincidentally, the top three of Kirk, Perkowski and sophomore Natalia Siek all posted the same remarkable score of 595. With the addition of the 590 provided by fifth-year senior athlete Brandon Seitz, Akron rifle finished the air gun competition one point ahead of Ole Miss—quite an accomplishment in this hard-fought division. The final team aggregate score was 4729-4699.

The top individual in the aggregate at the Akron vs. Ole Miss competition was Ole Miss sophomore Julianna Hays with a score of 1186 (air rifle 594, smallbore 592).

Akron vs. Ole Miss
Results of the Akron vs. Ole Miss match on November 4, 2023. (Screenshot courtesy of NCAA)


You can view the full results of the Akron vs. Kentucky and Akron vs. Ole Miss matches at the NCAA website.

In addition, I want to take a moment to recognize Natalia Siek, who is one of the hardest working members on the Akron rifle team. At every match she continues to improve. This young athlete knows no limits and I’m excited for her future with this team.

Akron rifle team sophomore Natalia Siek
Sophomore Natalia Siek (foreground) has a bright future ahead of her on the Akron rifle team. (Photo by Newt Engle)


Below are the Collegiate Rifle Coaches Association rankings as of Thursday, November 2, 2023.

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

Coming up next for the Akron Zips rifle team is another double-header weekend. The first test will be a rare Friday daytime match against No. 10 Ohio State at the Akron home range in Akron, Ohio, on November 10. This match is scheduled to start at 10:45 a.m. Then on the following day—Saturday, November 11—Akron will open its home range again to host the No. 15-ranked United States Military Academy for a match that is scheduled to begin at 8:00 a.m. Both the Akron vs. Ohio State and Akron vs. U.S. Military Academy matches may be viewed live at this link.

Learn more about the Akron, Ole Miss and Kentucky rifle programs.


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