FAIRBANKS, Alaska - It's time for our final team preview in Nanook Corner and this week we're going to look at the university's most storied program, the Nanook Rifle Team.
The Nanook Rifle team began their 2018-2019 campaign in early October with matchups against Ohio State and Nebraska. The Nooks were able to fire off for a 2-0 start with a pair of victories that saw them outscore Ohio State 4666 to 4659 and Nebraska 4693 to 4662. After that solid start, the third ranked Nanooks are happy to be officially back on the range.
"The team was really excited to get started. We were one of the last teams to shoot our first match. Everyone was just pumped and excited to get the season going. We shot really well and it's a good start to the season," said Layne Lewis, Nanook Rifle Head Coach.
"The team is really close and we work really hard, so it's kind of that test of where we are at the beginning of the season. We're really happy to find out how we were shooting," said Grace Nelson, Nanook Rifle Co-Captain.
The Nooks, who are being led by Layne Lewis in his third year as head coach as well as co-captains Grace Nelson and JT Schnering, will be in action this weekend, the 25th, 27th, and 28th, in a tri-meet against Jacksonville State. They will then head south for a road trip to take on three different teams, UTEP, TCU, and Nevada.
"We're feeling really good. We're working on endurance just because it is three matches. That's kind of... it's not unusual but it is different. I think it'll be a good matchup. We're just kind of coming off of those wins from OSU and Nebraska, so we're gonna keep that momentum going," said Lewis.
"It's always good to get the wins and build their confidence up going into these long weekends of matches. Three matches in four days is a lot. We built that confidence up going into these matches which will then carry on into our road trip next month," said Nelson.
Calling the Nanook Rifle team a dynasty would be an understatement. The most decorated program at the University has 10 national championship trophies in the EF Horton Shooting Range, the second most of any NCAA School. They are currentlt ranked #3 in the country and are rarely out of the top five. This year, the program looks to add to the team's historic legacy.
"It was so cool. I dreamt all through High School of joining this team and when I finally got on I was so excited. It's just that dynasty we have that the current team strives to continue and it makes it so much easier when the people before you have already paved the path," said Nelson.