Georgia Southern may be one of the new additions to the Sunbelt, but, with the addition of a Women’s Rifle Team, the University offers one sport that many schools do not have at this time. Coach Msg Tim Parks, who has been the head coach since the program started about two years ago in April of 2013.
Southern offers some of the top rifles, equipment, and other items that the team needs to succeed in their conference, the Southeastern Air Rifle Conference. This season marks the second season in the SEARC, and the team is looking to post career-high numbers in the near future. A new range is under construction right down the road from the team’s current practice range, but, in the mean time, the team has been focusing on what they need to do to continue improving for the future.
“When the program started, some of the girls did not have any experience, but in just about a year these girls will be unbeatable,” Coach Parks said.
Parks, along with members of the GSU athletic department, worked extremely hard to develop a program after they found out the Rifle team would be added only about a month before the first competition was set to begin in 2013. Parks found seven girls from ROTC to come out, and he could immediately tell that they had potential from their first attempt shooting air.
This year, the team not only competes in air rifle but also in small bore, so their scores are actually competitive with those of the biggest Rifle programs. Tori Lewis is now competing on the team for her second year, and she has already improved her scores by 50 points this Fall. The team is really looking forward to training and increasing their record in the upcoming months.
A typical day for a member of the squad typically revolves around classes and then about three hours at the range. Not all of the time at the range is spent shooting, however. Coach Parks often has the girls do dry fire drills, which do not include bullets. Each day, a different set of drills and exercises will be written on their board at the range, and the girls look forward to learning new tactics and skills each day.
“This year with the addition of small bore it’s an entirely new element, but it’s such a fun learning experience,” Lewis said. “We are improving everyday and are now competitive with all the other teams in the conference.”