MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Georgia Southern senior Rosemary Kramer placed third at the 2019 NCAA Air Rifle Championship Saturday inside the WVU Coliseum, becoming the first medalist and All-American in the rifle program's history.
In the prelims, Kramer shot a 599 (out of 600) to set a new NCAA Air Rifle Championship record and advance to the finals. In the finals, she hung around the top of the leader board with several big scores but eventually was eliminated in the third spot with a 226.2.
"I've always wanted this, and for it to finally be in my hands is overwhelmingly pride-filling and exciting," Kramer said. "I can't wait to see where Georgia Southern and I will go after this match and I want to thank everyone for all of their unwavering support and joy for this sport. Just take it one shot at a time."
The previous NCAA record was 598, set in 2013 by Petra Zublasing of West Virginia and matched three times since before Saturday's record-breaking performance.
Kramer, from Culloden, Georgia, finished her career with each of the top 10 highest air rifle scores in program history and was a two-time Southern Conference Air Rifle Athlete of the Year. She won the conference's air rifle title a week ago and became the highest SoCon finisher at the NCAAs in air rifle since 1982 when John Duus of ETSU finished second and Marie Miller of ETSU finished third.
"I'm obviously proud of Rosemary's performance today, but I"m even more proud of the work she did getting here," head coach Sandra Worman said. "She came in with the intention of setting the NCAA record, and everything she did and thought about coming into this match was purposefully made to meet that goal. She shot a full course in practice on Thursday so she could simulate the pressure of the crowd, the match, the venue, the people, the other coaches and competitors. Her intention was that she wanted to come off the line today feeling like she had done everything possible to put herself under the intense pressure that match day would bring, and had passed her own test. We read Rudyard Kipling's poem If together and really focused on the line: 'If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster And treat those two impostors just the same.'
"This resonated with her because her goal was to come out of the match feeling like SHE considered herself a champion and that she had put her mind to set the record and accomplished it. She did exactly that. For my part, I'm also thrilled she got the chance to show the level of grit, poise and tenacity she has. After shooting tens all day like it was her job, to not hesitate one bit in bouncing back after one 9.9, and to even console the crowd when they shared their heartfelt disappointment for her, she went right back to shooting tens and showing us and herself the stuff of which she's made."
Kramer was named a first-team All-American by the NRA at the All-American banquet Saturday night.
Kramer will now begin preparations for a run at the 2020 Olympics.