GHSA Air Rifle Competitors Move Up to NCAA Rifle Competition

(data through 2017-18)

GHSA began three-position air rifle competition in school year 1991-92. Its first competitor to move up to compete in NCAA rifle competition was in SY 1993-94.  

Through SY 2017-18 eighty-six former GHSA three-position air riflery competitors have gone on to compete in NCAA competitions (39 females and 47 males); 15 at military service academies, 27 at other out of state universities, 42 at Georgia universities and two who competed both out of state and then in Georgia.

Most GHSA competitors begin competing in GHSA air rifle with no prior experience in the sport. The NCAA competition is both three-position small bore and standing air rifle. Some of the above gained experience with small bore while in high school but many did not. They had only participated in air rifle. The Georgia high school graduates have transitioned well. The 86 have earned 40 All-American honors, one was an NCAA Individual Champion, one was selected for the US National Team and nine to the National Development Team. Three have served as assistant rifle coaches at universities and one as head coach.

Obviously there have been many GHSA riflery competitors of remarkable skills who chose not to compete in the NCAA. It is interesting that only 25 of the above 86 were GHSA championship medalists (29%). They did however earn a total of 35 medals (16 gold, 9 silver & 10 bronze). Also, only 46 of them (53%) were included in the 218 athletes selected to the high school all-state teams through 2017.

There would probably be even more GHSA graduates competing in the NCAA if Georgia had more universities involved. Only two universities in Georgia compete in NCAA rifle competitions, the University of North Georgia and Georgia Southern University.  There were none in Georgia until the University of North Georgia began in 2008 and Columbus State University in 2009. North Georgia withdrew in 2010 and reentered in 2011. Georgia Southern University entered NCAA competition in 2013 in air rifle and added  three-position small bore in 2014. Columbus State withdrew from competing in April 2015.

Larry Pendergrass

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