Rifle team prepares to host Ole Miss, West Virginia

Jacksonville State, Murray State capture Newkirk titles;
Tech shooters post several season-high scores


COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Tech shooters posted five season-best marks last weekend while hosting the James Newkirk Invitational, and now the Golden Eagles prepare to host a couple of strong teams this weekend with visits from Ole Miss and defending NCAA champion West Virginia.

Ole Miss and West Virginia will shoot a shoulder-to-shoulder match Saturday morning at 8 a.m. on the Tech Rifle Range in the West side of Tucker Stadium. The Golden Eagles will face Ole Miss Sunday morning.

“We’re looking forward to this weekend,” said Tech rifle coach Steve Law. “We got our first chance to shoot since the long break with last weekend’s James Newkirk Invitational and I thought our kids did a nice job of getting back, getting focused and competing."

“We look at this weekend as a chance to take another step forward in preparing for the OVC Championships that are coming up,” Law said.

Jacksonville State claimed the team titles in air rifle competition at the Newkirk Invitational, while Murray State won the smallbore discipline. The Racers edged JSU for the overall championship.

In air rifle, JSU posted a 2,346 to place first, followed by Murray State (2,339), Memphis (2,314) and Tennessee Tech (2,286).

For Tech, senior Curtis Gagne (shown in photo) fired a season-high 578, just five points off his career-best. Austin Litherland was next for the Golden Eagles with a 576 air rifle total, followed by Jessica McCauley with a 569 and Jonathan Zimmerer at 563. The scores for McCauley and Zimmerer were both season-highs, and for Zimmerer it established a new career-best.

The smallbore team title went to Murray State with a 2,285, enough for a 15-point victory over JSU with a 2,270. Memphis (2,262) placed third and Tech (2,222) was fourth.

The Golden Eagles were led by Litherland with a 571. Curtis Gagne fired a 563, Zimmerer a 547 and Patrick Stidham a 541.

In aggregate scoring, Litherland’s 1,147 was Tech’s high total, while Gagne (1,141) and Zimmerer (1,110) each notched season-bests numbers.

In team scoring, Murray State finished with 4,624 points for the crown, just eight points better than Jacksonville State (4,616). Memphis (4,576) was third and Tech (4,508) was fourth.

Individually, Murray State’s Emily Quinner had the top score in both disciplines with Andrea Dardas of Jacksonville State second in both. Quinner’s 592 in air rifle edged Dardas by three points (589), and in smallbore, Quinner total of 581 was one point better than Dardas’ 580.