As the Kentucky rifle team wrapped up the celebration of its first NCAA Rifle Championship on Saturday at Columbus State’s Lumpkin Center, CSU was celebrating a win of its own.
The weekend’s rifle championship, hosted at Fort Benning on Friday for the smallbore competition and at CSU on Saturday for the air rifle competition, was the first national championship for CSU under athletic director Jay Sparks and it went about as smoothly as could be hoped for, Sparks said.
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“I really think it went very well,” Sparks said. “The ultimate goal, after it’s all said and done, is that people say they enjoyed the experience, they have positive comments coming back, and we got those positive comments not only from the efforts at Fort Benning but also today. And that’s an awfully good feeling to have because it’s a little intimidating when you haven’t hosted something like this before and you can’t say you’ve been there, done that.”
The NCAA was impressed, too, according to NCAA assistant director of championships Sherard Clinkscales.
“All I can say is that this has been first class,” Clinkscales said. “I think the biggest thing when you host an event like this is that the host wants it to be here. From Day 1, Jay Sparks (CSU Rifle coach) Mike Green and (CSU assistant athletic director) Mike Peacock wanted to host this competition, and that made a big difference.”
“Sometimes these championships, you have to pull for people to take responsibility and do things differently. That didn’t happen one time. Everyone got their hands dirty and made this a really successful championship.”