Memphis rifle began postseason play lastweekend at the 2018 NCAA Sectional Qualifiers. The Tigers came through when it mattered most, posting their second-highest aggregate of the season in a 4654-4626 win over the University of Tennessee at Martin. Junior Leighton Dempster and sophomore Levi Clark led the way for the Tigers with aggregates of more than 1170.
Memphis benefited from the proximity of the 2018 NCAA Sectional Qualifiers. After a full season of travel, the Tigers were content with only traveling 150 miles to Murray, Kentucky. The NCAA event was at the Pat Spurgin Rifle Range on the Murray State campus.
The Tigers were in a good position coming into the qualifier. As a team it is advantageous to peak towards the end of the season and that is what the team has done. Memphis posted three of its top four aggregate scores in the last four weeks of the regular season.
They recorded their fourth-highest aggregate (4648) in the final match of the regular season on Feb. 11 at Ole Miss. Memphis posted their third-highest aggregate of the season (4650) at Kentucky on Jan. 27. The Tigers shot a 4646, their fifth-best aggregate of the season, at the Jan. 20 Withrow Invitational hosted by Murray State a week before the Kentucky match.
Memphis tied their season-high in the smallbore discipline in this weekend’s win over UT Martin. The Tigers recorded a 2305 smallbore aggregate and only broke 2300 on one other occasion. Memphis also shot 2305 in the discipline earlier this season when the team posted their highest aggregate of the season at Texas Christian University on Oct. 28, 2017.
Dempster’s 1172 aggregate was the highest total by any Tiger this season. The junior recorded a career-high smallbore score (579) and tied her career-high score in the air rifle discipline (593). The 1172 aggregate score is the highest total by any Memphis shooter since senior Makennon Doran shot an 1176 aggregate (586-590) at the 2017 NCAA Sectional Qualifier, also at Murray State.
Levi Clark also made an impact for the Tigers. The sophomore tied his career-high aggregate (1171) and was one point away from tying teammate Dempster at the qualifier. He also tied his career-high in the air rifle discipline (588) and was one point shy of tying his career high in the smallbore discipline (583).
The NCAA Championships announcement is set for Feb. 21 at 4 p.m. The NCAA Rifle Championships selection show will air on NCAA.com.
Leighton Dempster holds her rifle. The junior is one of three upperclassmen on the 2017-18 roster
Amberlie Ezell poses for the camera. The sophomore helped Memphis rifle post their second-highest aggregate of the 2017 season against UT Martin.