Four members of the UTM rifle team were recently named with 7 Ohio Valley Conference honors in air rifle and smallbore.
The OVC Rifle Championship took place on UT Martin's campus on February 5th as the Skyhawks piled up its best-ever OVC Championship air rifle performance. The team earned 2,335 points, six points higher than their previous air rifle mark at an OVC Championship that was set last year.
Leading the Skyhawks in a career-high score, Alayna Walther, a sophomore from Avella, Pennsylvania, scored 592 points in air rifle and 571 points in smallbore, naming her to the All-OVC air rifle first team and All-OVC smallbore second team. In the 2021-2022 season, Walther made an impact as a freshman, capturing a sport on the OVC All-Newcomer squad on both air rifle and smallbore.
Nick Fares, a senior from Springboro, Ohio was named to the All-OVC air rifle second team. At the championship, Fared tallied 590 points. He racked up All-Ohio Valley Conference second-team honors in both air rifle and smallbore in the 2021-2022 season, was named to the Athletic Director’s Honor Roll for both the fall and spring semesters and was named to the OVC Commissioner's Honor Roll.
Jeffrey Bourassa, a freshman from Manassas, Virginia was named to the OVC smallbore All-Newcomer team. Before UTM, Bourassa competed in the USA Shooting 2021 Winter Airgun Championship at Camp Perry in Port Clinton, Ohio and places 23 in the U21 division. Also taking part in the U21 Super Final portion.
And Joey Kovach, a freshman from Bedford, Pennsylvania was named to the All-OVC smallbore second team plus the OVC All-Newcomer squads in both air rifle and smallbore at the OCV championship, scoring 582 points in air rifle and 573 points in smallbore. Before UTM, Kovach shot for Everett High School, helping to lead the team to a pair of state championships and its third consecutive Allegheny Mountain Rifle Conference championship. He also competed in the 2022 USA Shooting National Rifle Junior Olympic Championships program in Hillsdale, Mich., taking part in both air rifle and smallbore events where he finished ninth in the U-18 air rifle rankings and placed 15th in the U-18 smallbore rankings. Also taking part in the 2021 National Junior Olympic Shooting Championships in Hillsdale, Mich., where he finished 23rd, just narrowly missing out on medalist honors as his final tally was less than three points shy of the bronze finish in the J2 category.