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Alaska rifle makes second consecutive trip to the White House

Submitted by Jamie Schanback
Phone: 907-474-6807

11/10/08

Photo caption below.
Photo by Chris Morgan
Members of the Alaska Nanooks rifle team celebrate after capturing the 2008 NCAA Rifle Championship.
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For the second time in as many years, the Alaska Nanooks' rifle team will visit the White House in Washington, D.C., where they will be honored by President George W. Bush for their 2008 NCAA National Rifle Championship. The Nanooks are one of nine NCAA Championship teams that will be recognized in a ceremony held on the South Lawn at 12:30 p.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday, Nov. 12.

The Nanooks come-from-behind victory on the final day of the NCAA Championship against Army locked up the third consecutive national championship for the Blue and Gold and tenth rifle title in program history.

"They are definitely excited to go," coach Dan Jordan stated. "It is quite an experience to be honored at the White House for our accomplishments. It is something the members of the team will remember for the rest of their lives.

For seven members of the team (Becky Hershberger, Ida Petersen, Jace Bures, Billy Galligan, Layne Lewis, Patrick Sartz, and Charles Whitmer) the trip to Washington D.C. may seem like déjà vu. These members attended the White House ceremony last year, in honor of their 2007 NCAA title last September.

The eight other national championship teams joining the Nanook rifle team at the White House include: University of Arizona (men's and women's swimming and diving), Arizona State University (men's and women's indoor track and field, softball), Brown University (women's crew), Northwestern University (women's lacrosse), Fresno State University (baseball), Florida State University (men's outdoor track and field), and Louisiana State University (women's outdoor track and field).

Prior to the ceremony, the Nanooks will be given a tour through the White House at 11:45 a.m.

The team, which left early Monday morning, will return early Friday morning, Nov. 15. Besides seeing the sights of the historic city, the team's trip will be highlighted by attending a National Basketball Association game, Washington Wizards vs. Utah Jazz.

The Nanooks, who are off to a good start at 4-0 thus far, look to capture their fourth consecutive national championship in the 2008-09 campaign. Sophomore Cody Rutter of Palmyra, Pa. and junior Patrick Sartz of Stora Sundby, Sweden will lead the way for the Blue and Gold as they are ranked first and second in the country, respectively.