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Top Shots: TCU Women's Rifle Team scores bulls-eye with honors

TCU senior Sarah Scherer

 

Photos by Glen E. Ellman

 

Gail Bennison
Special to the Business Press


They’re top shots.
Texas Christian University’s Women’s Rifle Team has shot to the top. Literally.
Leading the team as coach for the past nine years has been Karen Monez.
Leading the team with uncanny shooting skills has been TCU senior Sarah Scherer of Fort Worth. She has placed herself in elite company as an athlete in the sport. She was honored as a first-team All-American in both smallbore and air rifle, an honor she received all four years. Scherer is only the 10th student-athlete to accomplish this since the Rifle All-American award was created by the National Rifle Association in 1936.
Last year, Scherer was the co-winner of the Pop Boone Female Athlete of the Year. This year she received the honor again.
“Sarah has always been so successful as a leader on this team,” said Monez. “She was a driving force behind the two national championships we’ve had, and she has just absolutely dominated the leader board.”
Sarah Beard, another senior on the team, and Scherer wrapped up an incredible four-year career at TCU that earned the rifle program a pair of NCAA Championships in 2010 and 2012 as well as two third-place finishes in 2011 and 2013. The team claimed a pair of Air Rifle team championships in 2010 and 2012 and a Smallbore team title in 2013. They finished their careers with a 48-3 record.
In Scherer’s junior year, her team had 12 competitions. In each competition, there are two events – smallbore and air rifle. In 21 of 24 times, Scherer finished in first place. She was equally tough to beat in her senior year, winning first place 16 times in 20 events.
“That kind of success in an athlete at that level of competition is just extraordinary,” Monez said. “And Sarah has earned it by working so hard. It has taken discipline, determination and not only the will to win, but the will to prepare to win. She comes in on a daily basis and spends between two and four hours just working on her technique and mental game. To compete as an elite athlete, you have to be at such a high level, both mentally and emotionally. Sarah has reached that pinnacle,” she said.
Four members of TCU’s rifle team received honors as CRCA All-Americans this year. Sarah Beard and Sarah Scherer were honored for the fourth consecutive season in both smallbore and air rifle.
Beard, 22, was tabbed for All-American in both disciplines as well, for the fourth time in her career. It marked the second consecutive season she was honored as a first-team All-American.
For the second straight season, Caitlin Morrissey made All-American in both smallbore and air rifle. She was an honorable mention honoree in smallbore and a second-team performer in air rifle. Megan Lee was honored as a smallbore second-team All-American.
In April this year, the NCAA awarded Beard and Scherer with the prestigious NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship. Nominated by the faculty athletic rep, the NCAA awards up to 174 postgraduate scholarships annually – 87 for men and 87 for women. These scholarships are given to student athletes who excel academically and athletically and who are in their final year of intercollegiate athletics competition. The one-time grants of $7,500 each are awarded for fall, winter and spring sports. Each sports season, there are 29 scholarships available for men and 29 for women.
“This whole team strives for academic excellence,” Monez says. “As a team, we have been ranked GPA-wise, comparing to the other teams here, at the top or near the top, just about every semester.”
Scherer graduates with a degree in nutrition in December. After graduation, she will travel to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs as a resident athlete. Her sights are set on the 2016 Olympic Games. Scherer will also be working on her master’s degree in nutrition.
“If you look at female athlete rifle shooters in the U.S., Sarah has as good a chance as any other elite level female to make it to the Olympic medal stand in 2016,” Monez said. “With demands at school and demands at team, she has excelled, and has this uncanny attention to detail that I’ve never seen in another athlete. That, and her tenacity and faith, have contributed to this competitive greatness. She’s very comfortable in being the leader on the team and being the leading scorer on the team. That‘s where she expects to see herself.”
 

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