MARTIN, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin mixed rifle team, ranked No. 19 in the Preseason Collegiate Rifle Coaches Association Top 20 poll, begins the 2013-14 season at the Ole Miss Open on Saturday, Sept. 28 followed by an appearance at the Memphis Open on Sept. 29.
The Skyhawks, who have finished in the top-20 of the CRCA final national polls 30 times in the last 31 years under head coach Bob Beard, return 12 shooters (10 upperclassmen) from last season. Beard has also added a star-studded signing class of five freshmen who are expected to contribute immediately.
“We are looking forward to a good season,” Beard said. “After an excellent recruiting year, we have the largest collection of academic and athletic talent in program history.”
On the academic side, the Skyhawks boast two Ohio Valley Conference Medal of Honor winners, eight OVC Commissioner’s Honor Roll/CRCA All-Academic Team members, two university scholars and three other honors program student-athletes.
Athletically, UT Martin accounts for three previous all-conference designees, six previous OVC All-Newcomers, one OVC Freshman of the Year, a three-time JROTC national championship team member, nine previous state champions or state Junior Olympic champions (Illinois, Maryland, Missouri, North Dakota, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania), the No. 13 and No. 15 women’s air rifle shooters in last summer’s US National Team tryouts and one member of the national record-holding 3-position smallbore team.
The Skyhawks will look to build off their success from 2012-13, as they set a new school record with a 4,601 aggregate score in the season-opener at Memphis. UT Martin followed that with another program-best in January at Murray State – a 2,331 point air rifle performance.