LOCAL NNSCI CHAPTER SUPPORTS THE UNIVERSITY OF NEVADA’S RIFLE TEAM “THE STRAIGHT SHOOTERS!”


unr-rifle-team-range-010617Every SCI Chapter has the opportunity to assist, create, or champion a project that is special to the SCI Mission, Sportsmen, Hunting, Youth Education, Conservation, or protecting our Second Amendment right to bear arms.

The Northern Nevada Chapter of SCI has had the opportunity to champion and partner in outdoor Youth Education such as the Maison T. Ortiz Outdoor Youth Camp, the Nevada Department of Wildlife Free Fishing Day, and several Youth Shotgun Shooting experiences. Other Chapter commitment opportunities include wildlife conservation projects and the development of their mobile Wildlife Education Center or Sensory Safari trailer which will be utilized by the local schools and public events.

Each Chapter has the opportunity to create these projects or participate with other organized agency projects.

The Northern Nevada Chapter of SCI (NNSCI) has selected several of these projects and they have become annual planned commitments.   In the past this has helped the Chapter stand out and be recognized nationally, receiving the Top Gun Award in 2012, the Diamond Conservation Award in 2013, as well as being named the Chapter of the Year.

A unique opportunity was offered to NNSCI, another special need was brought to light, and a new area in which the Chapter could help presented itself. This is something that we would like to share with all of you.

Did you know that there is a sanctioned NCAA Collegiate Rifle Shooting Sport just like football and basketball?

My eyes were opened to a whole new collegiate sport – SHOOTING – a sport that represents all of the positives of firearms. This is a great story that I wanted to share with the local NNSCI Chapter at one of our quarterly dinner meetings.

What came out of that introduction of competitive shooting to our group through a presentation by the local Rifle Shooting Team was fascinating.

1926 UNR Womens Team
1926 UNR Womens Team

The University of Nevada Rifle Team dates back to 1889. It is one of the oldest collegiate athletic teams in Nevada.

Photographic records show pictures of the team as far back as 1926. Two photographs show that the team was made up of male and female members. As of this date the team has been made up of primarily female participants.

The University of Nevada Rifle Team is a member of the Patriot Rifle Conference (PRC).

Charter Members in the PRC are the U.S. Air Force Academy, TCU, Ohio State, Nevada, UTEP, and the University of Alaska. To be a member of the PRC, an institution must have a varsity team recognized by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Nevada has previously competed in rifle as an independent.

1926 UNR Mens Team
1926 UNR Mens Team

The purpose of the PRC is to provide its member institutions the benefits of an intercollegiate athletic conference; to promote rifle competition among similar institutions, which provides for matches and championships; promote equal competition through agreed upon conference standards; promote the NCAA Rifle Program; enhance the competition for greater media and public exposure; and promote the development of intercollegiate athletics as an integral part of the curriculum of the member institutions.

The Rifle Team is comprised of 16 members this season. The team is a mixed squad of both men and women. The athletes shoot both small-bore and air rifle during competitions. The team will once again be led by Head Coach Fred Harvey, the 2003 Collegiate Rifle Coaches Association “Coach of the Year.” Harvey enters his 20th year directing the Nevada Rifle Program.

Coach Harvey’s resume is quite impressive, having earned his bachelor’s degree in National Security and Public Affairs from the United States Military Academy at West Point. Harvey earned a master’s degree in Procurement and Materials Management from Webster University. He also graduated from the British Army Staff College as well as the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College with honors (Master’s Equivalent).

Last year, the University of Nevada Rifle Team had a 100 percent graduation rate for our senior student-athletes – better than 99 percent of the Division 1 universities in the country. Our Rifle Team has the highest grade-point average and graduation rate of all of our sports’ teams. These athletes are obviously destined to become highly productive members of the communities they end up in, and represent the future leaders and heads of families that our society needs. Their rigorous schedules of studies, workouts, and competitions show that they possess the organization, ambition and dedication to be the best they can be – isn’t this the type of person you want entering the workforce? They are definitely who we want to represent our sport.

Everyone on the team is focused on academics. The team maintains an average GPA of 3.47.

The team can boast that one of their shooters was the #1 graduate in the College of Science and the #1 student twice in the College of Business.

One of the previous team members, Olivia Pennell, is the first Wolf Pack student-athlete to win the prestigious Elite 89 award.

unr-rifle-team-shooter-on-line-010617The Elite 89, an award founded by the NCAA, recognizes the true essence of the student-athlete by honoring the individual who has reached the pinnacle of competition at the national championship level in his or her sport, while also achieving the highest academic standard among his or her peers. The Elite 89 is presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average participating at the finals site for each of the NCAA’s championships.

Eligible student-athletes are sophomores or above who have participated in their sport for at least two years with their school. They must be an active member of the team, traveling and a designated member of the squad at the championship. All ties between student-athletes are broken by the number of credits completed.

With academic achievements and athletic excellence so high in this University of Nevada Athletics Program, it is a travesty for our community not to support the athletes and this program.

One can only imagine how much could be achieved if the team had proper facilities as do their competition from the other schools and their peers in other athletic sports.

The Chapter members found the Rifle Team’s story intriguing and wanted to help.

Key NNSCI individuals who were in attendance at the dinner started the ball rolling by making donations to the Rifle Team and have been making donations since.

UNR 2013 Rifle Team
UNR 2013 Rifle Team

That was three years ago; today the University of Nevada, Reno has developed plans for a new shooting facility, has developed a business plan, and is in full fundraising mode.

The future home of the University of Nevada Wolf Pack Rifle Team will have a broad-based benefit locally, regionally and nationally while offering training in pistol, archery and shotgun. Located on the existing public safety training center site, the new facility will offer almost 33,000 square feet of training space. Including space for merchandising and product sales. Once checked into the facility, people will experience a truly world-class training facility and new level of Wolf Pack pride.

The Nevada Rifle Team has won more national championship titles than any other Nevada sport. As such, past individual athlete and team titles will be on permanent display. There will be multi-purpose rooms for training and meetings – these rooms will be supported by a kitchenette area. As one walks through the building, there will be a 20-position air rifle and air pistol range that can also be set up to support archery.

To the left of this area, there will be an open lobby where spectators and visiting teams can gather and watch ongoing matches. On one side of the lobby is a 21 position small bore range divided into three 7-position bays. On the other side of the lobby there is another 7-position small bore range.

Rendering of the new planned facility
Rendering of the new planned facility

All four of these ranges can be utilized by the public and public safety organizations for hand gun training. Modern, state-of-the-art systems with the latest electronic monitoring will be utilized. The facility will accommodate three overlapping trap ranges, skeet ranges with an international box, an exterior 30-position 25 yard hand gun range, and a 100 yard rifle range.

This facility will meet the NCAA team shooting requirements and become a USA Shooting Team certified facility. It will have the capability to meet the Olympic shooting requirements, ultimately making this one of the finest facilities in the country serving athletes, sportsmen and women, emergency services organizations and Olympic athletes, both locally and nationally.

As Coach Fred Harvey explained, “It will accommodate more than the University Rifle Team; it will support public safety training, public education and training, and tie into the USA Shooting Facility requirements.”

The goal is to start the project construction in 2017 with a completion date of September 2018, ready for the start of the NCAA Rifle Shooting season.

unr-rifle-team-two-shooters-010617The local NNSCI Chapter would like to see that happen as a few months later in January 2019, the SCI Convention will be back in Reno and we will be able to share the facility with all of you.

Check out our You Tube video UNR Rifle Final Video May 2015 or visit our Facebook page, University of Nevada Rifle Team.–Terrence Melby, SCI Life Member

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