Ole Miss Rifle Opens Winter Season with Pair of Matches

Published 7:00 am Sunday, January 10, 2021

OXFORD, Miss. – Looking to build on the success from the fall season, No. 4 Ole Miss rifle hits the road for a pair of matches with No. 11 Ohio State and No. 8 Nebraska on Jan. 9 and 10 in Columbus, Ohio.

“We don’t know what to expect,” said head coach Marsha Beasley. “The girls came back early and have been working really hard. Neither Ohio State or Nebraska have shot this season, so it should be an interesting match. Historically, we’ve done really well on this trip and we are looking forward to competing.”

In just three matches this fall, the Rebels completely rewrote the record book. The team turned in the three highest scores in program history in each match and set an NCAA Record with a team smallbore score of 2361. Freshman Lea Horvath fired personal bests of 599 in air rifle and an 1189 aggregate score to break the individual school record, while sophomore Kristen Derting set the smallbore record with a mark of 594.

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As a team, Ole Miss has the second-best smallbore and air rifle averages in the country with marks of 2342.0 and 2370.7, respectively. Additionally, they are one of two teams that are averaging an aggregate score of 4700.0 or better.

All seven of the Rebels’ counters this season also rank in the top 25. Horvath paces the team and ranks third in the nation with an aggregate average score of 1186.3. The freshman from Komarom, Hungary, has made a very nice addition to the Ole Miss squad and looks to continue her sharp shooting.

The duo of Derting and Claire O’Neel provide some extra firepower to the Rebels counters. The sophomores have made an impressive jump from last season. Derting owns an aggregate average of 1181.3, ranking fifth in the country, and O’Neel sits just outside the top 10 with an average of 1174.0.

Also making an impact as a counter is senior Abby Buesseler. She has been one of the most consistent shooters for the Rebels, averaging a 580.3 in smallbore and 590.3 in air rifle.

Juniors Erin Walsh and Jillian Zakrzeski have also provided extra depth for Ole Miss. Walsh is averaging a 584.0 in smallbore, the 10th best mark in the NCAA, while Zakrzeski boasts an impressive 590.7 average in air rifle. They both fired personal best marks of 1177 in the fall and will be key contributors in a backloaded schedule.

Another Rebel to keep an eye on is freshman Martina Gratz. She served as an air rifle counter in the Rebels’ last two matches and is averaging a 590.7 in the discipline.

Ohio State and Nebraska only shot in virtual matches during the fall semester. This weekend’s matchup will mark the first official competition for both teams. The Rebels haven’t competed in Columbus since the 2018-19 season, when they picked up wins over the Buckeyes and Akron. More recently, Ole Miss hosted GARC foe Nebraska in Oxford last season and dropped a close match, 4675-4665.

Both matches are set to start at 7 a.m. CT inside Lt. Hugh W. Wylie Range. Fans are encouraged to follow along on Twitter for live updates and results.

For more information on Ole Miss rifle, follow the Rebels on Facebook (OleMissRifle), Twitter (@OleMissRifle), Instagram (@OleMissRifle) and at OleMissSports.com.