Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Thursday, April 18, 2013

U-M club rifle team brings home national championship

The U-M Rifle Team has won the 2013 NRA Intercollegiate Rifle Club Championships, bringing a national title back to the university that first won it in 2010.

“I was really, really happy — the time and effort everyone put in paid off,” said coach Mike O’Connor of his team’s victory. “The team was well prepared, highly skilled to perform and perform consistently, and had a strong desire to win not just for themselves but for the team and as the representatives of the University of Michigan.”

The club team has been at Michigan since 1907 as a student organization, and participated in the Big Ten Conference until rifle shooting was dropped from the conference in the 1980s.

As a club team, the rifle team competes in the Western Intercollegiate Rifle Conference, going to shooting matches every other weekend during the winter semester.

After winning the inaugural championship in 2010, Michigan’s rifle team wasn’t able to repeat its success until this year, when the team beat Pennsylvania State University and Clemson University.

“Eventually, I hope the program is producing world-class athletes in rifle shooting to represent not only the university, but the United States in World Cups and the Olympics,” O’Connor said.

Michigan shooters participate in two kinds of rifle competitions: small-bore, which uses a .22-caliber target rifle and is shot from prone, standing and sitting positions; and air rifle, which uses a .177-caliber target air rifle and is shot from a standing position.

At the championship this year, the 10 Michigan shooters’ individual scores were combined to form Michigan’s team score of 4,363, which beat out all the competition.

Ying Yi Liu, a junior, placed first in the air rifle individual championship with a score of 575 (of 600) and placed fourth in the overall individual standings.