Ole Miss’ Lea Horvath Achieves Perfection in Air Rifle
Published 12:04 pm Monday, February 1, 2021
MORGANTOWN, W. Va. – Lea Horvath fired the first perfect air rifle score in program history as No. 3 Ole Miss rifle picked up two Great American Rifle Conference victories on its first day of competition. The Rebels fired a team score of 4706 to defeat No. 12 Akron and No. 14 Navy.
Horvath etched her name into history among other legends in the rifle community and tied the NCAA record with her perfect air rifle score of 600. It marked the 12th time in NCAA history that the feat has been accomplished and was the third perfect score fired this season.
“We were excited to see Lea shoot a 600 in air rifle today,” said head coach Marsha Beasley. “She has done it in practice, but it’s much harder in a match. She worked the match very well today, making sure she took the shots she wanted.”
With the two GARC wins, the Rebels moved to 6-0 in conference action and 9-0 on the season. Their nine victories so far this season are the most in a single season in program history, surpassing the 2018-19 squad that won eight matches.
Horvath paced the field of 40, tying her career-high aggregate score of 1190. Kristen Derting turned in the next best performance for Ole Miss with a mark of 1173.
The Rebels once again turned in a solid smallbore score with a 2332. Horvath posted a 590 on the second relay to pace the team, while Derting fired a 584 on the opening relay. Additionally, Horvath’s mark of 199 after the first 20 shots kneeling tied a school record. Abby Buesseler and Erin Walsh both got the nod as counters and shot identical scores of 579. Walsh’s smallbore performance also featured a perfect 200 prone. Jillian Zakrzeski served as the final counter with a mark of 577.
The air rifle lineup looked a little different, with Claire O’Neel serving as a counter in place of Buesseler. She and fellow sophomore Derting fired 589s. Zakrzeski posted a mark of 593 and Walsh followed just a point behind to wrap up scoring for the counters. As a team, Ole Miss fired a score of 2374 in the discipline.
Buesseler and freshman Martina Gratz posted air rifle scores of 593 and 592, respectively, although their marks didn’t factor into the team scoring. Gratz’s score also eclipsed her career-high set on Nov. 17, 2020.
“With each match this team continues to grow and progress,” said Beasley. “The opportunity to compete in a tournament with 40 competitors was valuable experience for us, and we will take what we learned and apply it in future matches.”
Akron finished with a team score of 4660 (2306 in smallbore and 2354 in air rifle). Kayla Andreoli paced the Zips with an 1166. The Midshipmen all shot on the second relay, firing a team score of 4646 (2300 in smallbore and 2346 in air rifle).
Also shooting in the match were the Mountaineers, who Ole Miss will take on tomorrow. West Virginia and Navy shot for their official GARC match, with WVU winning 4734-4646. That top-four GARC matchup between the Rebels and Mountaineers will begin at 7 a.m. CT.
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