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Rifle team claims SoCon air rifle title, finishes second overall

March 16, 2020

The University of North Georgia's (UNG) rifle team capped another strong season with the Southern Conference (SoCon) air rifle title and a second-place overall finish among eight teams in the championships held March 7-8 in Statesboro, Georgia.

Ranked 19th nationally, UNG has placed in the top two of each of the four SoCon championships since the league added the sport. The Nighthawks also earned their seventh straight Georgia State Championships title in February.

"The team has worked hard to get to this point," head coach Tori Kostecki said. "A second-place finish overall and especially the air rifle championship were a nice way to celebrate all of that hard work throughout the year."

The Nighthawks' score of 2,296 put them 10 points ahead of the field in air rifle, while their aggregate score of 4,535 put them four points behind SoCon champion UAB, ranked 20th nationally.

Kimberlee Nettles, a junior from Waycross, Georgia, was the Southern Conference Athlete of the Year in smallbore and Co-Athlete of the Year for the air rifle event. She took fourth place overall individually and won the smallbore title.

Tobin Sanctuary, a senior from Alstead, New Hampshire, finished in third place individually in air rifle. He also finished second in smallbore.

Nettles and Sanctuary were first-team all-conference performers in air rifle and smallbore. Only two other student-athletes took first-team honors in both events.

"Our team has the drive and the desire to be successful and do our best at every match," Nettles said. "We are truly a family that is there for one another through thick and thin. We support each other off and on the firing line."

Other schools in the SoCon championships include UAB, Georgia Southern University, The Citadel, Wofford and VMI. The Citadel and VMI fielded both mixed and women's teams for the event.

UNG's national ranking is among NCAA schools from all divisions, with many of those schools in Division I.

Sanctuary is one of two seniors for UNG, which has three freshmen and a sophomore among its eight student-athletes.

"I am happy to see a lot of potential in my returning teammates. There is a great deal of leadership, skill and experience in the up and coming classes," Sanctuary said. "And I hope they discover their potential and continue to push themselves and each other toward higher performance in all facets of their lives."

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