Congrats To UAF Nanooks Rifle For Winning Its 11th NCAA Team National Championship

We’ve had two profiles of the University of Alaska’s rifle team members – Nanooks alum and outdoorswoman Sagen Maddalena represented team USA in the Tokyo Summer OIympics last year, and we also featured former coach Dan Jordan, who led the team to multiple national championships after being paralyzed in a climbing accident.

And last weekend, after a 15-year drought, the Nanooks captured the school’s 11th NCAA team title in Akron, Ohio. From the UAF press release:

AKRON, Ohio – For the 11th-time in program history and first time since 2008, your Alaska Nanooks rifle team has won the NCAA Rifle Championships. With a 2380 in air rifle, a 12-point lead on second-place TCU and an aggregate score of 4729, the ‘Nooks walked away with the National Championship.

“There are almost no words to describe my overwhelming pride for this group.” Said third-year head coach Will Anti, “It’s been tireless work, stress, management, and joy to get to this moment. We’ve made it to the mountain top and are just taking in the view now. I think it’s still sinking in for almost all of us.” With their 2349 in smallbore, a day ago, and their 2380 in air rifle this morning, the Nanooks swept the national championships, claiming both top-spots in each gun and claiming the all-important team overall championship. Rachael Charles and Rylan Kissellled the way for the Nanooks on day two of Championships. Kissell posted a perfect-score 600 with 58x and Charles followed behind with a 598 49x. Both of those scores qualified the athletes for the air rifle individual finals. Anti added how impressed he was with Kissell’s ability to know the situation and take care of business alongside Charles’ impressive showing as a freshman on the big stage, “The match today was tough. We had some extreme highs with Rylan and Rachael. To shoot a 600 on that stage, there is no way to put into words how impressive that is. He understood the assignment, he managed the match perfectly, he shot with passion and joy, and in doing so deserved to be the champion. Rachael was very impressive as well. A freshman coming off of a tough first day basically threw the team on her back and said, ‘I got you.’ That’s a special person.”

The Nanooks only trail the West Virginia University Mountaineers (19) in all-time NCAA team titles.