FAIRBANKS, Alaska - Tonight for Nanook Corner, we talk to members of the UAF Rifle team, who prepare for their biggest home meet in years.
The Patriot Rifle Conference Championships will be held in Fairbanks this year, and the Nanook Shooters are preparing to welcome their conference foes.
"I think it's going to be a lot of fun, I've talked to a lot of the other coaches and they're excited to come up here. The Patriot Rifle Conference has never had this big of a Championship. They've always just fired them in their own ranges," said Layne Lewis, Head Coach – Nanook Rifle.
The championships will be split into two days, with the first events taking place on Saturday at 9am. The weekend will then come to a close with day two on Sunday, which is also set for a 9am start. There are five other schools in the PRC, so the Patty Center is going to be packed. This is the Nanook Athletic Department's first time hosting the conference championships since 2015. They are making massive preparations, including moving everything from the EF Horton Shooting Range into the Patty Center Gym, where the event will take place.
"It's a little bit different. We do have a lot of work to do but it will be a cool change of environment and it's something we don't get to do a lot. We have shot in the gym before so it will be a bit of a difference but we all have experience in a change of environment because we've shot at TVSA and various different ranges so it'll be a really cool opportunity," said Amy Gentry, Nanook Rifle.
"It's actually been a lot of fun, working with Kayne (Gutierrez) and Coach (Lewis). Just kind of figuring out what needs to happen. We want to make it a good event. We kind of really want to mimic NCAAs almost. So we want to make it the best that we can,” said Grace Nelson, Nanook Rifle.
"I'm gearing this to... If we can run this successful event, and we are confident that we can duplicate this event, then we'll put in a bid for NCAA Championships. That way when we host an even bigger event, we have a good, solid foundation set," said Lewis.
Last year, the Nooks took third in the conference championships, but now that the event is being held on their home turf, they will look to improve on that while gaining momentum heading into the NCAA Qualifiers.
"It is mimicking an NCAA event so getting that practice run in... This match does still count for our averages going into the NCAAs so it's just as important as the others," said Nelson.
"I kind of think... Instead of 'are we ready for PRCs?' It's more of 'Are PRCs ready for us?' because we're just game with it. We're ready to go," said Gentry.