OXFORD, Miss. - A year ago, junior Abbey Stanec finished runner-up in air rifle at the NCAA Championships. After a season-best showing at the NCAA Qualifier last weekend in Kentucky, Stanec earned a trip back to her home state of Ohio for the 2013 NCAA Championships.
Stanec posted a season-high 590 in air rifle at the NCAA Qualifier in Lexington, Ky., last weekend as well a season-best 581 in smallbore. The 590 in air is two off her career-high, which she set in the pre-finals at last year's NCAA Championships.
"Abbey has worked hard this year to have this opportunity, and I know she will represent the University of Mississippi well," head coach Valerie Boothe said.
Stanec was in a lab for one of her classes when the announcement came that she had earned a spot as one of eight individuals. She was excited to finally get the news after waiting all day.
"Coach was pretty confident that I was going in one gun, but you never know," Stanec said. "I was thinking `great if I do get in, but if I don't, it will be ok.' I was kind of on pins and needles all day wanting to know."
Stanec admitted that she would have loved to go in both disciplines last year, but she feels she is more prepared this year to compete in smallbore and air rifle.
"I don't think I was ready for smallbore last year, but I've definitely learned a lot this year in both guns that has been very helpful, and it's awesome to be going to NCAAs with some new skills," Stanec said.
A total of 48 competitors will compete in the championships, with 40 competitors coming from the team rosters submitted by the eight teams selected Wednesday. The remaining eight competitors were selected based on the scores submitted from the designated qualifier.
The Ohio State University will host the championships, which will be held March 8-9 in Columbus, Ohio at the Converse Hall and French Field House on the Ohio State campus.
That's about two hours from Stanec's home town of Sharon Center, so she will have a host of family and friends there to support her.
"My family is very excited, they're all going to come and watch. They've been talking about [the possibility] the whole week."
The Rebels are hosting the GARC Championships this weekend at the Patricia C. Lamar National Guard Readiness Center. Admission is free all three days and more information can be found on the GARC tournament central page.
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