Rifle team certified for competition

Zakyra Colvin

Georgia Southern University President Brooks Keel and Athletic Director Tom Kleinlein greeted the 2013-2014 rifle team after it was officially certified to begin practice.

The first rifle team in Eagle history completed the NCAA certification process Thursday evening and includes, Alejandra Shortridge, Becky Collier, Emmy Johnson, Rachel Lewis, Abigail Raines, Kathryn Youndblood and team captain Kaitlyn Witt, and was led by Coach Tim Parks.

“I am very thankful that Tom Kleinlein and President Keel gave me the opportunity to be the very first rifle coach for Georgia Southern,” Parks said in a news release. “It’s an honor not only to be the head coach of Georgia Southern’s ROTC award winning Ranger Challenge team but also to be the head coach of the women’s rifle team.”

Those women selected from the ROTC program bring with them knowledge of weapons, including air rifles, which will help them during their first season of competition. The team will compete in the air rifle discipline.  Air rifle uses a 0.177 caliber pellet, and shooters are 10 meters from the target.

Shortridge and Witt also participated in the National Ranger Challenge Competition and shot expert in the weapons competition.

“We recruited across campus and sought the best qualified students,” Parks said in a news release. “The majority of the ladies were selected from the ROTC program. The rifle team will have the advantage of starting with exceptionally disciplined, highly-professional and very intelligent students and cadets at its foundation.”

The Eagles will use the shooting range behind the Recreation Activity Center on Register Road as their home facility until the Georgia Southern Shooting Sports Education Center, slated to open in the fall of 2014, is completed.