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November 24th, 2019

Sunday GunDay: Teen Queen — 18-Year-Old Rifle Ace Katie Ezell

Katie Ezell ohio state junior olympics smallbore air rifle shooting competition
Katie poses in high school graduation cap and gown with her Walther LG400 Alutec Air Rifle.

Hard work and tenacity do pay off. Smallbore/Air Rifle ace Katie Ezell is proof.

Story based on article by Serena Juchnowski, CMP Feature Writer
Hailing from Denver, North Carolina, Katie Ezell, 18, is a rising talent. Katie graduated Summa Cum Laude from High School in 2019 and now attends Ohio State University, where she competes on the OSU Rifle Team. At the age of 10, Katie’s parents introduced her to marksmanship, wanting their daughter to have hands-on instruction in firearm safety. Thus began a love affair that has only evolved since then.

“The first time I ever went shooting, I knew this was something that I would want to continue to do.”

One of Katie’s match rifles is a Walther LG400 Alutec Competition Air Rifle:
Katie Ezell ohio state junior olympics smallbore air rifle shooting competition

Since she was so young and unable to join the teenage pistol team at her club, Katie applied to the women’s team, which had no specific age restrictions, and proceeded to compete with those far older and more experienced. Katie accredits much of her competitive drive and how she handles match pressure to pursuing the competition venture at such a young age.

After pistol came skeet, in which Katie traveled to national and international competitions. Thinking about the future, Katie soon realized that a shooting scholarship would allow her to continue in the shooting sports while funding her education. Precision rifle appeared to be the best avenue for this, leading Ezell to move into rimfire sporter for four months before making the jump into precision air rifle.

Katie Ezell ohio state junior olympics smallbore air rifle shooting competition

Ezell cites her greatest accomplishment as “getting accepted to be on The Ohio State [University’s] rifle team after shooting for a year and a half”. While Ezell had been shooting for eight years, she had only been training and competing in precision rifle for 18 months when she was accepted onto the team, where she made her dream a reality.

Katie Ezell ohio state junior olympics smallbore air rifle shooting competition

After joining the Ohio State team, Katie’s first competition was the Junior Olympics, which added some extra pressure to the already prestigious event. This was not the only special part of the occasion. Katie’s father, a deployed military member, was in town, and this was the first time he could watch her compete in person, since his deployment makes attending matches difficult.

Katie Ezell ohio state junior olympics smallbore air rifle shooting competition
Katie Ezell at the Colorado Springs Olympic Training Center in 2018 for Winter Air Gun.

Katie notes that after she set the nervousness aside, she found herself excited and shot a personal best in smallbore. She had hoped to shoot better with her air rifle, but she knows that being part of a college team will help her to improve her skills.

Katie Ezell ohio state junior olympics smallbore air rifle shooting competition
Katie excels at Smallbore. Here she aims a .22 LR Walther rifle at the 2018 Nationals at Fort Benning, GA. She shot a personal best at the Junior Olympics.

With Coaching, Katie Has Achieved Personal Bests in Both Ari Rifle and Smallbore
Katie is nearing the end of her first semester at Ohio State and has surpassed her previous bests in Smallbore and Air Rifle. Her coach has changed some of Katie’s positions, and she is improving.

“Marksmanship has taught me a lot about self-control. If the shot does not look right, then I reject it and try again. I have learned that failure is okay….” Katie recognizes that failure can inspire one to do better and to learn. She advises competitors “to not be afraid to fail”. Katie started into precision shooting at a much later age than most, especially those who end up with a college shooting career. Though it took time, she learned to appreciate the experience and to not bury herself in expectations.

Katie Ezell ohio state junior olympics smallbore air rifle shooting competition

Walther LG400-E Expert with Electronic Trigger
The E-trigger ensures wear-free operation and exact trigger settings for many shots. The LED-indicator and the installed rechargeable battery ensure readiness to fire as well as easy and quick loading.

· Trigger pull weight can be reduced to 15 grams
· Wear-free operation and exact trigger settings over many years
· Choice between two-stage mode and direct trigger mode
· Realistic dry-firing conditions (dry-firing trigger)
· Rechargeable battery via mini-USB
· LED indicators for system readiness and battery charge level
· Automatic e-trigger turnoff when not in use

Credit The First Shot CMP Newsletter, story by Serena Juchnowski, CMP Feature Writer.

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March 12th, 2017

WVU Mountaineers Win Fifth Straight NCAA Rifle Championship

2017 NCAA Rifle Championships WVU West Virginia Mountaineers
Photo by Lapua’s Adam Braverman. Lapua match ammo was used by many competitors.

The NCAA Rifle Championship was held at Ohio State University March 10-11, 2017. The team National Championship went to the powerful West Virginia University squad. The No. 2-ranked WVU Mountaineers rifle team claimed its fifth straight NCAA title in commanding fashion, shooting a championship-record 4723 Aggregate score at Ohio State’s French Field House. This was the Mountaineers’ nineteenth national championship, a remarkable record of excellence.

2017 NCAA Rifle Championships WVU West Virginia Mountaineers

WVU shooters also secured top honors — the individual titles were both won by West Virginia freshman. Morgan Phillips won the small-bore titles on March 10, 2017. Milica Babic won the air rifle championship the next day.

2017 NCAA Rifle Championships WVU West Virginia Mountaineers

The Mountaineers’ NCAA championship five-peat is the third in the sport since 1980. WVU previously won six straight titles from 1988-1993, and Alaska-Fairbanks won six straight from 1999-2004.

NCAA Rifle Championship Rules

The NRA Blog has listed some of the more important rules in effect for the NCAA Rifle Championship.

2017 NCAA Rifle Championships WVU West Virginia Mountaineers

Modern Electronic Targets
The 2017 NCAA Championships used electronic targets, with monitors at each shooting station. That allows spectators to view the scoring in real time. For air rifle, shot at 10 meters, and smallbore, shot at 50 feet, all NCAA competitions using electronic scoring targets shall comply with USA Shooting Rule 6.3.2 and be at least ISSF Phase I approved.

Max Rifle Weight is 8kg (17.64 lbs)
The maximum weight for a complete smallbore rifle cannot exceed 8 kilograms. Previously, a maximum weight of 6.5 kilograms was imposed for female shooters, but as of this season, both men and women can use up to an 8 kg rifle. [Editor: That’s actually a pretty heavy rifle to hold off-hand in the standing stages — it approaches the weight of an F-TR rifle.]

Single Shot Only
NCAA shooters aren’t worried about magazine capacity. Only single shot rifles that must be manually loaded before each shot are permitted in competition. Additionally, only one rifle can be used in the Elimination, Qualification and Finals rounds of an event. The action, barrel and stock cannot be changed, but the shooter can swap detachable buttstocks or accessories (subject to 8kg weight limit).

2017 NCAA Rifle Championships WVU West Virginia Mountaineers

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