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Kentucky rifle team No. 1 in pre-season poll

University of Kentucky rifle team head coach Harry Mullins
University of Kentucky rifle team head coach Harry Mullins

The University of Kentucky's defending national champion rifle team has been voted the No. 1 team in the nation entering the 2011-12 season.

The Wildcats, who open their regular season Oct. 21 at home against Mississippi, claimed the top ranking in the Collegiate Rifle Coaches Association pre-season poll.

"Starting the season ranked No. 1 is always an exciting time yet, closing the season No. 1 is what we are shooting for," UK Coach Harry Mullins said. "Our team is going to have to work very hard throughout the season and stay focused to stay in the top five with the talent that many teams have this year."

Kentucky won its first NCAA Rifle Championship last March with a record team score of 4,700, holding off runner-up West Virginia and third-place Texas Christian.

In the pre-season poll, TCU is No. 2 and West Virginia No. 3.

Murray State, which finished fifth in last season's NCAA championships, enters the season ranked No. 5. Morehead State is No. 20.

Ethan Settlemires, who won the NCAA individual championship in smallbore, returns for his senior season. He is joined by several other returning standouts, including junior Heather Greathouse, junior Katie Fretts, sophomore Emily Holsopple and senior Henri Junghanel.

Coaches pre-season poll

1. Kentucky

2. TCU

3. West Virginia

4. Alaska-Fairbanks

5. Murray State

6. Jacksonville State

7. Army

8. Mississippi

9. Air Force

10. Ohio State

11. Navy

12. Nebraska

13. UTEP

14. Nevada

15. Memphis

16. Columbus (Ga.) State

17. Akron

18. North Carolina State

19. Tennessee-Martin

20. Morehead State

Others receiving votes: Citadel, North Georgia, Rose-Hulman, VMI.

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