Updated: February 4, 2013 at 12:00 am
The Air Force rifle team has won 12 in a row and is now ranked seventh in the College Rifle Coaches Association Poll.
Coach Launi Meili said one challenge to the sport is projecting what an amateur shooter, who may practice one to two times per week, can do when given the resources to focus on the sport five or six times a week under proper training.
To look for shooters, Meili looks at Junior ROTC programs across the country, including locally, as well as junior clubs.
“We have one here at the Olympic Training Center and it has 30 or more junior shooters who practice on a regular basis,’ Meili said. “And that’s also where we recruit.”
Air Force (17-3) has one local in Doherty graduate Kevyn Stinett.
Serratore hijacks news conference
Hockey coach Frank Serratore hopped up to share the podium with basketball coach Dave Pilipovich during Monday’s typically separate news conference.
“Hockey is on temporary leave of absence,” said Serratore, who kept the mood light with his self-deprecating sense of humor in the wake of his team’s 0-1-1 weekend against AIC. “We are going in exile to Erie, Pennsylvania, for a week for a weekend of rehab.
“It’s not like we lost to the last-place team in the league — we lost to the second-to-last team in the league.”
Serratore praised the job Pilipovich has done in rejuvenating the basketball program.
“It’s great to see the excitement around the academy,” Serratore said. “It was so fun to see those kids pour onto the floor out after the game. We need more of that out here.”
Pilipovich said he’d like Serratore to give a motivational address to his basketball team.
“I’d be more than happy to speak to your team,” Serratore responded. “Because, you know what, my team is sick of me.”
Home sweet home
The Air Force women’s basketball team plays five of its next eight games at home, a fortuitous bit of scheduling for a team that hasn’t won a league game on the road in more than five years. It also helps players stay on top of the academy’s academic rigors during the grind of what has been another difficult season for the team.
“It just helps to be here instead of on the road,” coach Andrea Williams said. “You like that continuity.”
Impact of success
Men’s basketball point guard Todd Fletcher has received a lot more attention at the academy now that the team is riding a five-game winning streak and is surging in the conference.
“It feels really great knowing people are watching our games now and coming down to support,” Fletcher said.
The downside of the success is that it’s made school work – no small task for the cadets – more difficult to keep as the top priority. That’s been particularly troublesome for the seniors, who see the light at the end of the tunnel.
“It’s getting much tougher,” Fletcher said. “Especially with all these wins coming not to just focus on basketball. But we know what we have to do.”