NEW LONDON, Conn. - The Coast Guard Academy Rifle Team bolted out of the gate and swept the competition in its season opener Saturday afternoon at the Academy. The Bears faced traditional rival Massachusetts Institute of Technology, along with Canisius College, Pennsylvania State University, and Wentworth Institute of Technology.
Coast Guard shot strong scores in smallbore, 2205, and air rifle, 2253. After firing a combined 4458, the Bears were just three points away, at 4458, from breaking the Academy record in the combined smallbore and air rifle event.
Junior Team Captain Nick Paisker paced the Bears in both events. A 572 in smallbore tied his personal best, but was only good for second overall to MIT's Sarah Wright's 574. A small hiccup on his final shot cost him the win. Undeterred by the disappointment he roared back in Air Rifle to best Wright by five points shooting a 577 to her 572. MIT's Helen Liu also shot a 572 in Air Rifle to bring the Engineers within five points of a win.
Perhaps enjoying a home field advantage Junior Lindsey Critser fell just short of her personal best in smallbore but shot a solid score in Air. Freshmen Alexandria Harrington and Randall Ford battled neck and neck to finish in smallbore 548 to 547 to round out the team.
Behind Paisker's Air Rifle score was Ford with a 564, Critser's 559, and Harrington's 553. These scores provided the final points to insure the win.
The final standings were Coast Guard, 4458, MIT, 4429, Penn State, 4197, and Canisius 2878, while Wentworth only competed in Air Rifle and fired a 2033.
Head Coach Rick Hawkins was very encouraged by the team's performance saying that, "Considering the young team left a lot on the table, coming within two points of the school record was quite a feat. I fully expect to see team and individual records fall this year."
Coast Guard is now 4-0 on the young season and will next compete on October 24th when it hosts John Jay and Yale in a home contest.