Columbus State Joins Ohio Valley Conference as Affiliate Member in Rifle
Columbus - On Friday, Ohio Valley Conference Commissioner Beth DeBauche announced the addition of Columbus State University as an affiliate member in the co-ed sport of men's and women's rifle beginning in the 2012-13 season.
"The OVC is delighted to have Columbus State University join our Conference as an affiliate member in the sport of men's and women's rifle," said DeBauche. "While a relatively young rifle program, Columbus State has already experienced an impressive level of success and we believe their addition to our Conference will make our already strong league even more formidable in the future."
Columbus State is located in Columbus, Ga., has an enrollment of 8,300 and is a member of the Division II Peach Belt Conference. For the sport of rifle, however, the NCAA sponsors a National Collegiate Championship, which is open to competitors from all three divisions rather than division-specific championships.
The Cougars completed their third season of rifle in 2011-12 and during the season competed against every OVC rifle squad (including three dual meets) at least once. Following the season junior April Dunn was named a second-team All-American in air rifle by the National Rifle Association (NRA), earning the second All-American honors of her career. In addition junior Courtney Duncan was tabbed a College Rifle Coaches All-Academic selection for 2011-12.
In the program's inaugural season in 2010, Jonathan Hall claimed the NCAA air rifle individual national championship. The following year (2011) Columbus State hosted the NCAA Rifle Championship, which was held jointly at the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) at Fort Benning and at the Frank G. Lumpkin Jr. Center on the Columbus State campus. Hall will be shooting for the U.S. Olympic Team in London this summer.
Mike Greene has served as the Columbus State head rifle coach since the program's inception prior to the 2010 season.
"By joining the OVC, I feel our program has taken a great leap forward," said Greene. "This not only brings us into contact with teams that have had rifle programs for years, but also shows our commitment to shoot and compete against the best."
"It is our pleasure to be invited and to join the Ohio Valley Conference," said Jay Sparks, Columbus State Director of Athletics. "Commissioner DeBauche has been stellar in processing this membership on our behalf. We are thrilled to give our student-athletes the opportunity to compete for a conference title as well as against some of the best competition in this part of the country."
The addition of Columbus State for rifle increases the OVC membership for that sport to six teams. Other OVC programs that support rifle include Jacksonville State, Morehead State, Murray State and UT Martin (which sponsors both a co-ed team and a women's team). The OVC first hosted a rifle championship in 1994.
Columbus State will be eligible to compete in the 2013 Rifle Championship which will be held in Morehead, Ky. in February.