UAF Rifle completes 2020-21 season as the #5 program in the country

Published: Mar. 15, 2021 at 8:50 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - University of Alaska Fairbanks Rifle is back where they belong as one of the top programs in the nation. After missing the NCAA National Rifle Championships for the first time in over 30 years last season, the Nanooks placed fifth at this year’s championships hosted by Ohio State in Columbus.

“The team had a tremendous season and today was really a culmination of that effort,” said head coach Will Anti in a UAF press release. “They once again, proved to be a top-five team in the nation.”

Under first year head coach Will Anti, the Nanooks entered the season ranked 14th in the nation before steadily climbing the ranks with each performance. Through the nine matches leading up to the NCAA Championships, the Nanooks averaged over 4,700 points per match, the most ever out of the UAF Rifle program that boasts 10 national titles.

Freshman Rylan Kissell, of Denver, Colorado, was UAF’s best performer during the two-day meet next to the top shooters in the country. Kissell opened the championships with a 587 in smallbore, launching him to the individual finals, where he placed seventh. Another strong effort the next day, Kissell qualified for the Individual Air Rifle Finals, taking fourth overall. With an aggregate score of 1182 on the weekend, Kissell placed sixth in the nation among all shooters.

“Rylan had another great day. It was an impressive bookend for his freshman campaign,” " Anti added. “He really held his own against a really deep group of competitors. I know the close brush with the podium will fuel him for next year.”

Senior Liam Eberhart shot a 588 on Saturday in air rifle, second best among Nanook shooters, while Daniel Enger finished with a 587. Kellen McAferty posted a 586, while Jessica Boyce rounded out the scoring for the Nanooks, posting a 578 made up of three 97′s, two 96′s and a 95 for 10-shot rounds.

“I think the group showed some resiliency and grit with everyone shooting a bit better towards the back half of their matches. Most importantly, I think this match really introduced the team to the environment and the sensations that come with contending for a top spot,” Anti continued to say in the press release. “We can move forward with the knowledge we gained here as we look to preparing for next year.”

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