Moya Morgan - Sports Editor
sports@insideuab.com

RIFLE Team CaptainRIFLE Team Captain Lindsey Hill (Photo courtesy of uabsports.com)This Saturday, the UAB Rifle Team will compete in their final match after 20 years at UAB. When the announcement was made that the UAB football, bowling and rifle teams were being eliminated following the 2014-2015 season, the ladies on the rifle team were devastated but had already prepared themselves for the worst.

“We knew that if the football team was going to be cut, two of the women’s teams were going to have to be cut as well,” said Lindsey Hill, captain. “We tried to remain positive, but the possibility of our program ending was always in the back of our minds.”

The rifle team faced attention from various media outlets after the announcement was made. “We were immediately hit with calls and emails from reporters who wanted interviews and statements. They even found ways to contact our parents,” Hill said.

As much as the team desired recognition and support from the university, this was not exactly the type they had in mind. However, Hill said that “Any recognition is better than no recognition at all.” She continued, “Despite the unfortunate circumstances, I am glad the UAB community finally knows of our existence and it is nice to hear the student body incorporate our names in their chants.”

Additionally, “the athletic department has become more consistent in updating photos and summaries from our matches on the sports website,” says Hill. The team had the difficult task of finishing out the season knowing that the program would be coming to an end. Hill said, “We did not want the decision to affect our performance. We want to go out with a bang and that’s what we’re doing.”

For the remainder of the season, the team managed to defeat Wofford in its first dual match 2233 to 2232. At the National Rifle Association’s sectional, the team scored a total of 2266 in the air rifle division. Freshman Sarah Grace Banks led the team with high individual scores in the 580s. The team placed third, fourth and sixth in matches against Murray State, UT Martin and other schools.

As of now, none of the team members have plans on transferring to alternative schools despite the attempts from various coaches to recruit them to schools where they could enjoy the “full college experience”. Moving forward, some of the team members have plans to continue shooting by joining local rifle clubs and community leagues.
Hill says that her primary focus is preparing for graduation in April.

Recently, there has been speculation that the football team could return in the future. The same may be true for the bowling and rifle teams. However, it may not be easy to pick up where the teams left off.

Hill says, “We know it might happen, but there is so much that goes into bringing a team back and there are still so many unanswered questions. We are not sure [if] we will have a team or what will happen to our equipment. We are not sure if our coaches will want to continue knowing that the program could be cut again without warning. We are not holding our breath.”

The last match is March 7 in Charleston, S.C. at The Citadel. Family members and supporters are traveling with the team to watch the ladies compete for the final time. “There will be a lot of emotion on that day. We might all break down and cry when it’s over,” said Hill. The ladies are hopeful for the future and still plan to make their presence known on campus.

“We haven’t lost our Blazer spirit,” Hill said. “We will continue to represent our school until our freshmen graduate.”