By Gabriel Austin Ole Miss Athletics Media Relations
Ole Miss has received extensive national recognition recently for its beautiful campus among other things, including football, but one little known, highly talented freshman in another sport has written a new page in the history books at the University of Mississippi. Alison Weisz has been busy solidifying her name in the annuals of Ole Miss rifle.
“I would probably say there are some freshmen out there just as talented, but I think the difference is her drive and motivation,” head coach Valerie Boothe said.
The Belgrade, Mt. native is the first freshman in the history of the rifle team to individually qualify for the NCAA Championships as well as receive All-Conference honors from the Great American Rifle Conference (GARC).
“It’s really exciting,” Weisz said. “It’s all so surreal. I haven’t quite grasped the fact that I’m in the history books. I can say that it was my goal to make the NCAA Championships, but I never imagined I’d be the first freshman at Ole Miss to do so.”
According to Weisz, her opportunities to shoot in high school were fairly limited because of the lack of structure in her small town.
“We used to shoot in the basement of a sporting goods store then it closed, so we were out of a place. Another place opened. Smallbore was a big challenge, it was only through 4H. We only got to practice maybe once a week, that was a huge change. I didn’t really have a team, unless they threw some kids together for a team,” Weisz said.
Weisz’ talents have not been suppressed by this; her dedication has always been prevalent. In high school she placed three consecutive years in the junior nationals. In her first collegiate season she led the Rebels in air rifle six times, posting a career high 594 against Memphis, one point from the school record.
Even with her success, Weisz flew under the radar of some of the most successful programs in the country during recruiting. The Great American Rifle Conference is home to the current No. 1 team in the country and has had a team win or place second at the NCAA Championships seven of the last eight years.
“I have to give credit to my assistant coach, Natasha Dinsmore ,” Boothe said, “She met Ali a few times and thought she’d be a good contributor to the team. We got lucky she said yes.”
Weisz is happy she chose to come south and says she has enjoyed her time here so far.
“I owe a lot to both coaches and all of the seniors for what my freshman season has brought me. They have been very helpful and supportive along the way, on and off the range. I’ve learned a lot from all of them and hope to do the same for next year’s freshmen class.”
Weisz said she has had to sacrifice a lot of things many other college freshmen are able to take part in, but that rifle is a sort of solace for her. She wouldn’t trade the experiences that she’s gained.
“It’s taken a huge commitment and here I’ve found an even bigger drive and discipline for it,” Weisz said. “I’ve gained more than I’ve lost. My experience is completely different from every other college student, I would much rather be spending every day at the range than doing something else.”
Even the bulky immobilizing suits that members of the rifle team wear during competition have grown on Weisz. The suits help to stabilize the shooter, but give them a distinct penguin-like waddle.
“It’s kind of like a turtle shell in there,” Weisz said. “Kind of like home, I get a sense of comfort in them.”
Weisz looks to have a good showing her first time competing in the NCAA Championships which started Friday at Murray State University.
“I really want to prove myself,” Weisz said. “I know I already proved myself by qualifying as a freshman, but I want to show off what I’ve learned throughout the season.”
Beyond the championships, Coach Boothe has high expectations, for the already auspicious freshman shooter.
“Shooting wise she’s already very mature. I look for her to continue her success to push her air rifle scores higher than they are today and bring her smallbore score up. I want to see her really emerge as a team leader in a lot of aspects,” Boothe said.
Ole Miss meets Mississippi State on the hardwood the for 250th time Wednesday, which makes it the most-played rivalry in the Southeastern Conference. Like the rivalry in football, where the road team last won in 2010, the home team has... read more
Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewJan. 20-26, 2015Men's Basketball - Senior guard Jarvis Summers scored 4 points in the final 26.6 seconds to lift Ole Miss to a 72-71 victory over Florida Saturday. Summers scored a team-high 16 points, including... read more
Classes started on the Ole Miss campus this past week, as the men's and women's basketball teams enter the heart of Southeastern Conference play. Some of the spring sports have started their 2015 seasons, while others are gearing up for... read more
Former Ole Miss safety Cody Prewitt capped an impressive week at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, with a game-high five tackles in the game itself Saturday. His former teammate, cornerback Senquez Golson sat out the game with a hamstring... read more
Ole Miss closes out a three-game stretch in which they will have faced three consecutive ranked opponents when they welcome No. 18 Mississippi State on Thursday night. The Rebels are 1-1 through the first two games of the stretch, having... read more
Photo GalleryCody Prewitt and Senquez Golson will represent Ole Miss in the Senior Bowl, which will take place Saturday at 3 p.m. CT from Mobile, Alabama, and will be televised by the NFL Network. The duo have already had a busy... read more
Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewJan. 13-19, 2015Men's Basketball - Ole Miss thrashed No. 19 Arkansas 96-82 on Saturday. The Rebels picked up their first true road win over a ranked opponent since 2003 and scored the second-most points ever... read more
The Ole Miss men's and women's basketball teams both made some history, while the men's and women's tennis teams started their spring seasons. National Signing Day (Feb. 4) and the start of baseball season (Feb. 13) are less than a... read more
After an up-and-down non-conference slate that included wins over Creighton, Cincinnati and Oregon, all away from home, and losses to Charleston Southern and Western Kentucky, both at home, Ole Miss learned a lot about itself in the first week of... read more
Ole Miss football finished the 2014 football season with a 9-4 record and a top-20 final national rankings in both polls. The Rebels come in at No. 17 in the Associated Press poll and No. 19 in the Amway Coach... read more
Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewJan. 6-12, 2015Women's Basketball - Ole Miss went 2-0 on the week with a road win at Florida and a win at home against Alabama, moving to 13-4 overall and 3-1 in SEC action while... read more
The Ole Miss men's basketball team opened SEC play, while the Ole Miss women's basketball team continued SEC play, as we enter the heart of college basketball season. Over the weekend, the men's and women's teams posted wire-to-wire wins on... read more
Ole Miss looks to reverse history, as the Rebels (9-4) travel to No. 1 Kentucky tonight (6 p.m., SEC Network), the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams. Ole Miss is 0-15 all-time against the nation's top ranked team, last playing... read more