The preseason Collegiate Rifle Coach Association poll has the Bears knocking on the door of placing in the Top 20. The Bears are currently ranked 21st in the survey of all NCAA DI, II, and III teams. Those voting were unaware of the five recruited rifle shooters who survived Swab Summer and are presently training in the basement of Chase Hall. Coast Guard has every intention of being the NCAA dark horse of 2015-16.
The recruited newcomers, who will be backing the two returning varsity athlete captain Nick Paisker and Lindsey Critser, bring differing levels of experience to the team. All have the basic grounding in shooting which will allow them to progress rapidly and be ready to compete at a competitive level.
Randall Ford participated in three position sporter air rifle as a Navy JROTC cadet. Outside of school he was active in smallbore and air rifle competition as a member of the Knoxville, Tennessee Volunteer Rifle and Pistol Club junior program. Ford has national competition level experience at the USA Shooting Junior Olympic Championships held at the Olympic Training Center, Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Prior to coming to the Academy via the Coast Guard Academy Scholars program, Alexandria Harrington shot for the Galway New York Fish and Game Club Junior Rifle Team. She is an air rifle specialist with several USA Shooting Junior Olympic Championships under her belt. She is transitioning into a smallbore shooter while maintaining her air rifle skill level.
Melissa Brizzi, salutatorian of the Admiral Farragut Academy Class of 2015, honed her skills with three position sporter competition at Farragut where she captained the team in her senior year.
There are only two JROTC Coast Guard programs in the United States and the Camden, North Carolina program has sent Jacob Dupree to the academy after a successful career in sporter air rifle.
Skye Ambrose competed in precision air rifle while studying at Sarasota Military Academy. She is no stranger to high intensity competition venues having competed at Fort Benning and the Civilian Marksmanship facility at Anniston, Alabama
The more experienced shooters are joined by an enthusiastic and hard working walk-on David Rose. Based on his demonstrated ability to play the bagpipes, Rose has all of the discipline and fine motor skill to master the shooting sports.
Head chooting coach Rick Hawkins is looking forward to a year of growth for the team while creating a winning culture. He is very optimistic that the year will set the stage for a bright future complete with new school records, All American honors, and conference championships.
The Bears open up their 2015-16 campaign at home on October 3rd with a quad-meet against traditional rival Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Canisius College, and Penn State.