A look inside women’s rifle

Jordana Klein

Georgia Southern athletics started the fall season on quite the high note, posting wins across the board and making history in sports such as football and soccer. One sport that has consistently been improving and recording career-highs since its addition in April of 2013 is the GSU women’s rifle team.

This sport may not be the most widely known around Statesboro, but the girls, along with Head Coach MSG Tim Parks, are looking to continue their recent successes into the new year.

“When the program started last year, none of the girls had experience, but in about a year, we will be unbeatable,” Parks said.

With the addition of the rifle team, after GSU joined the Sun Belt Conference, the athletic department has made accommodations for the new program. They have the best equipment in the conference, and the new shooting range is currently undergoing construction and should be ready next semester.

“After deciding that the women’s rifle would be the sixteenth sport for GSU, myself, along with Tom Kleinlein [GSU Athletic Director], and the athletic department ensured that the team was squared away in just about three months,” said Cathy Beene, Senior Associate Athletic Director.

Just in this season alone, the girls have drastically increased their scores. Last year, they only competed with air rifle pellet guns, but, this semester, the team now competes in small bore and air rifle, which added small bore .22 rifles to their repertoire. Although the training can be much more grueling, the team is enjoying the challenge.

“This year, with the addition of small bore, it’s an entirely new element, but it’s such a fun learning experience,” said Tori Lewis, a sophomore on the rifle team. “We are improving everyday and are now competitive with all the other teams in the conference.”

Beene noted that the Rifle team could now qualify for the NCAA tournament, now that the girls shoot small bore along with air.

“Last year, the girls defeated teams in air that had had their program for years,” Beene said. “They’ve already done very, very well this year, and our goal is to have them compete in NCAAs as a team as well as individually.”

With this school year well underway and the new shooting range close to completion, the women’s rifle team looks forward to its upcoming competition.

“We are competing, improving, learning from our mistakes, and applying everything in practice, which will hopefully pay off,” Parks said. “The scores will show our hard work.”