The UTEP rifle team will begin its 2018-19 season when it competes at TCU Sunday. It is the first of 13 matches (including tri-angular meets) on the fall portion of the slate, while also marking the start of the Austin Litherland era.
The Miners feature a seven-member squad, with four returnees (Jessica Boyce-sophomore, Samantha Miller-sophomore, Maranda Nelson-senior and Mara Rouse-junior) and a trio of freshmen (Josephine John, Morgahn Warner and Jennie Windle).
“I’ve pushed these girls for the last three weeks,” Litherland said. “They have shown me how hard workers they are and how dedicated they are. I’ve seen improvements to their scores, and the team dynamic is really good. We’re excited to go shoot against TCU this weekend.”
Boyce shot both disciplines in all 12 matches for the Miners last year, ranking second on the team in average for air rifle (581) while sharing second in aggregate (1144). Miller posted averages of 553 in smallbore and 572 in air rifle for an aggregate average of 1125 as a freshman.
Nelson tied for third on the team in air rifle average (576) in 2017-18 while Rouse rated third on the unit in average for both smallbore (565) and aggregate (1149).
John placed eighth nationally at the 2017 Junior Olympics in Camp Perry, Ohio. Warner has competed regionally and nationally in USA shooting, NRA and CMP competitions and helped her squad take first place at the 2018 Washington State Outdoor Smallbore Championships. Windle began shooting competitively in high school, and helped her high school team qualify for Army Nationals in Anniston, Alabama, for three consecutive campaigns.