1999 Rifle Season in Review

Lincoln - The Nebraska women's rifle team is the newest Husker sport after beginning Division I competition in 1998-99 under Coach Karen Anthony. The Huskers, one of only 10 Division I women's rifle programs in the country, had a solid inaugural season as the team improved drastically from their first meet in late October to the final meet in February.

The first year of the Nebraska women's rifle program under Anthony brought continued improvement throughout the season. The Huskers began the year with four competitors who walked on to the team from the immediate area. The skill level of each team member varied, but each progressed steadily from the beginning of the year to the last match of the season, Anthony said.

The team smallbore scores leaped more than 400 points from the first match of the season in October to a match at Xavier two weeks later. From the Walsh Invitational to the Roger Withrow Invitational the team score climbed another 200-plus points. From the Withrow Invite in late January to the Collegiate Sectional at Xavier three weeks later, the team score climbed another 80 points.

In the air-rifle competition, the team score climbed more than 90 points from the first match at Missouri-Kansas City on Oct. 24 to the Walsh match at Xavier on Nov. 6. From November to the Collegiate Sectional in February, the team added another 50-plus points to its air rifle team score.

Highlighting the individual performances were the efforts of freshmen Rachel Spiry and Terim Richards. Spiry was the team leader and won the Nebraska Women's JORC competition in late January to qualify for the national championships that were held in March. Spiry scored 368 out of 400 to win the air rifle competition and 539 out of 600 to win the smallbore. Richards placed second behind Spiry in the Nebraska state meet with a score of 366 out of 400 in air rifle and 526 out of 600 in the smallbore. Also competing for the Huskers this season were senior Darcy Nicholsen and junior Jennifer Latimer.

With the return of Spiry and Richards the future of Nebraska rifle looks very bright. Behind the support of one of the strongest athletic departments in the country, Director of Athletics Bill Byrne has given his full support of the Husker rifle team.

The Huskers were equipped with top-of-the-line rifles and equipment for their first season of competition. They practice in a newly remodeled 10-point indoor firing range located in the Military and Naval Sciences (ROTC) Building that is centrally located and near other athletic facilities.

Two-time Olympic gold medalist shooter and Nebraska native Gary Anderson said Nebraska's facility is one of the best in the nation. Anderson speaking at the official dedication of the facility on March 9, said the Husker program will thrive in the near future.

"I am very confident that within the next couple of years, Nebraska will be a qualifier and a contender for the NCAA Championship," Anderson said. "The perfect base for this program is a great coach and a top-flight facility."