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Rifle team to be honored by President George W. Bush

Submitted by Jamie Schanback
Phone: 907-474-6807


The 2007 NCAA champion Alaska Nanooks Rifle Team will visit the White House in Washington, D.C. on Friday, Sept. 21, where they will be honored by President George W. Bush. The Blue and Gold will become the first NCAA national championship team from the state of Alaska to be recognized at the White House.

"The team is really excited: they've all been really pumped about it and it is good for them to get some national recognition," head coach Dan Jordan said. "It's a pretty big deal for them and the community. It's going to be a memorable experience."

Representatives from eight other national championship teams will also be honored at the White House that day, including: Arizona State University (women's indoor/outdoor track and field), Brown University (women's crew), Duke University (women's golf), John Hopkins University, (men's lacrosse), Oregon State University (baseball), University of Tennessee (women's basketball), University of Minnesota (wrestling) and Stanford University (women's cross country).

The Nanooks will arrive in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, Sept. 20 and will sightsee Friday morning before going on an afternoon tour of the White House. The teams will then meet individually with the president, at which time 2006-07 senior captains Matt Rawlings (Wharton, TX.) and Ryan Baum (Elizabethtown, PA) will present Bush with a gift on behalf of the University of Alaska Fairbanks. The president will then give an address to all the schools on the White House's South Lawn.

The team will conclude their trip by spending Saturday taking in more sights in the nation's capital, including the Smithsonian museums, before returning to Fairbanks on Sunday.

For Jordan, it is his second visit to the White House in the last four years. He was previously recognized by the president and the first lady after capturing a silver medal at the 2004 Paralympics Games.

The Nanooks captured their ninth NCAA rifle championship on March 11, 2007: the team's second consecutive title and eighth in the last nine years. The latest victory was especially sweet for the University of Alaska Fairbanks as they also hosted the 2007 event, which broke the all-time attendance record with over 900 spectators. Seven Nanook shooters qualified for last season's NCAA Championships, and the team boasted six All-Americans in 2007.

Alaska shooters will look to defend their title when the 2008 season kicks off on Oct. 13. The Nanooks will host Tennessee-Martin in Fairbanks, with the first shot scheduled to be fired at 8 a.m.