UAF to host 2015 NCAA Rifle Championship

Photo by Paul McCarthy Sophomore Tim Sherry shoots at he Patty Center in September 2013.
Photo by Paul McCarthy
Sophomore Tim Sherry shoots at he Patty Center in September 2013.

Christopher Brooks

The National Collegiate Athletic Association announced Wednesday morning that the Alaska Nanooks will be the host of the 2015 NCAA Rifle Championship, marking the second time ever the national championship is headed for Fairbanks.

The 2015 championship will take place March 13-14, 2015, at the Patty Center. The University of Alaska Fairbanks hosted the NCAA Championship back in 2007.

“We found out a while ago [the NCAA] was expecting us to bid and we had a great time running it last time,” head coach Dan Jordan said. “We started the modern era of the rifle championship, so it’s nice to get it back and it’s a huge thing for the community. Everybody got involved, 1,000 people there and I think we can top that this time.”

“We are very excited to host the 2015 Rifle Championship again, the first time since we hosted in 2007,” director of athletics Gary Gray said. “We received many compliments from that 2007 event, including the large number of fans who attended. We hope to make the 2015 national championship even bigger and better. We will seek lots of input and assistance from the rifle community and around Fairbanks.”

The NCAA revealed a total of 523 sites that had been awarded for 82 of its 89 championships between the 2014-18 seasons, marking the largest collection of host site announcements in association history. The selected cities represent 39 states across the United States.

The Nanooks have won 10 national championships, the second-most in the NCAA history, and are currently ranked No. 1 in the latest Collegiate Rifle Coaches Association poll, having shot the two highest team scores in the country this season.

“Last time we hosted, the whole state got behind it,” Jordan said. “We had former governor Sarah Palin here to present the awards and there’s no place else that would have a dignitary like that. I think Fairbanks loves the activities. Fairbanks loves big events like Arctic Winter Games, Yukon Quest and Iron Dog – the community gets really behind them, not just the groups involved.”

“Being named as the host site for an NCAA national championship is a tremendous honor for our rifle program and for our entire university,” Gray said. “The national spotlight will be on our campus that entire week and I am confident we will exceed expectations to host an amazing event.”

In addition to UAF’s selection, the 2016 championship will be held at Akron for the first time ever and Ohio State will host the 2017 championship at Converse Hall, marking the fourth time OSU has been the site.

“It’s always fun when it comes home,” Jordan said. “It puts a lot of pressure on the team because they want to win at home. They will work extra hard on knowing they’re preparing to try to win a championship at home. It will be a good push for the team next year.”