Q&A with NCAA Rifle Coaches Ashley Rose-MacAllister and Jon Hammond

National Development Team member and Alaska Fairbanks alum Mike Liuzza just got back from covering the NCAA Rifle National Championships for USA Shooting. During his time in Fairbanks, Alaska, he sat down with Nebraska coach Ashley Rose-MacAllister following Nebraska's Rachel Martin's Smallbore Rifle win and her team's third-place Smallbore finish. He also spoke with West Virginia coach Jon Hammond following his team's third-straight National Championship and sweep of the Air Rifle podium.

Q&A with Ashley Rose-MacAllister

How does it feel being a new coach at the NCAA tournament? 

I had been to the tournament as a competitor and assistant coach in the past. But leading the team into the match, I didn’t see it as anything different than preparing for and training for in order to execute well.

What were your thoughts regarding the Smallbore Rifle match? 

Rachel (Martin – Smallbore Rifle NCAA National Champion, pictured right) had a wonderful Finals performance and was able to gain the Smallbore title. She did an excellent job of handling the pressure and the finals situation with the noise and everything else that was out of her control. The whole team had a great performance. We had a goal going into the match and met every one of those goals. Everyone on our team was able to accomplish something in order to move the team forward. We are constantly growing and this is proof we are growing in the right direction. 

How do you feel entering the Air Rifle match? 

It’s another day, we were able to have a good day today and celebrate a good day after we left the range. After we celebrated, we had to bring our focus back to what’s coming up next tomorrow and where we have to be.

What is it like to have one of your shooters win the Smallbore title? Did you see it coming? What can we expect from her in the future?

I have full confidence in all of my team members that they are capable of winning titles. They have proven that they are capable to be great and that they are a big contender. Rachel has obviously dedicated herself to training on and off the range, and I am only expecting her to grow. This is what she loves and wants to do. Her focus is contagious amongst our team and that has been a big factor in this year’s successes.

Q&A with Jon Hammond

What were your thoughts going into the Air Rifle match at a 12-point deficit?

We just had to treat this as another day. You obviously prefer to have an advantage, we talked yesterday and we just had to shoot our match. We can’t control the opposition and we had to shoot for ourselves. I have a lot of trust in these guys they have been a solid Air Rifle team the whole year so we didn’t put a lot of pressure on ourselves.

Your team swept the air rifle podium. What is the secret? 

I’m a Prone shooter so I’m not too sure. I don’t think there’s any secret – we’ve have had some awesome Air Rifle shooters. Over the past six years, I think recruiting has been a big part and being around good shooters all the time pushes them. They can shoot pretty good Smallbore at the same time. Just in the last few weeks, our Air Rifle has been really solid. Maren (Prediger – Air Rifle NCAA National Champion) and Ziva (Dvorsak) are solid airgun shooters. Michael (Bamsey) is good too. Garrett (Spurgeon) and Tom (Kyanko) are also solid in both guns.