FAIRBANKS-Coming off of their Patriot Rifle Conference Championship-the first ever.
UAF comes into the NCAA Championships ranked second sandwiched between no.1 West Virginia and no.3 Kentucky.
The Nooks finished the season 11-1 and beat Kentucky. Their only loss was to West Virginia by just 29 points. The team is confident they can win a national title.
"We're not too focused on standings as far as how we're going to do it really only matters how we shoot that one day," junior Ryan Anderson said. He's ranked second in the country in smallbore.
"So that's what we're going to be focused on. We're focused on ourselves, we're focused on what we need to do for ourselves and we're going to shoot well. I'm confident about that," Anderson said.
Lorelie Stanfield, a sophomore from Lathrop, has improved greatly this year and has traveled with the team all year. She will be making her NCAA debut. She thinks this team is prepared.
"We've had the high intensity-'ok, we're going to shoot against West Virginia now we need to do really really well' and we've seen what putting ourselves under certain pressure can do to us and we know what we need to do to succeed," Stanfield said.
Senior Mike Liuzza says the competition amongst the team is more intense than shooting against another school.
"Actually I've gotten more pressure from my teammates than anyone else I've ever shot against because we're always trying to beat each other. We're not really worried about other teams we want to beat ourselves. And that's where we get the most pressure and motivation from."
The team is aiming for a certain objective at nations. The score of 4702 is their program record. Sophomore Tim Sherry, who is third in air rifle this year, this shooting around that program record will help the team stay focused.
"We have a goal. It's a little bit lower than a program record right now. It's just what we feel comfortable shooting under that type of pressure and we're just going to focus on that and focus on that score for ourselves and not really pay attention much to any other teams or anything like that," Sherry said.
"That'll help keep us focused on ourselves and the team aspect and less on the pressure of the entire match."
Head coach Dan Jordan believes his team can handle the pressure of a championship match.
"Probably this is one of the best stressed teams I've had in a long time. They really thrive under that pressure. There's several of them that always step up for the big matches and always really bring it out," Jordan said.
"As a whole I think they're sitting in a really good place. They've all been looking forward to this and we've talking about it all year and they always seem to peak out and do good on those days."
The NCAAs start this weekend with smallbore on Friday and air rifle on Saturday in Murray, Kentucky at the Pat Spurgin Rifle Range and CFSB Center on Murray State University's campus.