Next up on our 2021/2022 athletics year in review series, we’ve got the reigning national champions: TCU Rifle.
You may have seen a joke here and there on the Twittersphere referring to TCU as a “Rifle school,” but the fact of the matter is those aren’t jokes folks. This Rifle program is pretty darn good.
The Horned Frogs’ rifle squad, led by head coach Karen Munoz, has amassed three team national championships, four individual championships, and 123 All-American shooters.
All this to combine with 16-straight tournament qualifications and THIRTEEN, yes thirteen, Olympians produced.
This past season, the Horned Frogs took home runner-up in the team championship falling 4,739 to 4,736 against Kentucky, just three small points away from complete domination. Alas, runner-up is still a desirable position to be in as the Frogs successfully defended their Air Rifle national championship with a score of 2,386 in the discipline.
Although they’re certainly no slouches in the smallbore, the Frogs’ strong suit this year seemed to be the air rifle portion of competitions. At the finals in Colorado Springs, TCU had three of the top ten scores which sent standout shooters Kristen Hemphill and Stephanie Grundsoee to the individual finals.
In individual finals, Hemphill fired a 226 to finish third while Grundsoee shot a 162.4 to finish 6th.
Hemphill and Grundsoee were just two of four Horned Frogs to finish in the top 10 overall shooters. They finished with an 1,186 and 1,185, respectively, while Abigail Gordon and Stephanie Allen rounded out the top 10 with scores of 1,184 and 1,180.
This was the fourth runner-up finish in program history (2016, 2017, 2021) as well as their fourth Air Rifle national title.
Although closing out the season in style is just a part of what TCU Rifle does on a yearly basis, the Frogs shot well all season.
TCU Rifle finished with a 10-2 record in regular-season matches, only falling to No. 3 West Virginia and No. 7 Air Force by a small margin.
Their 10 wins featured spectacular performances against top opponents. In 2021, the Frogs took down No. 8 Navy, No. 23 VMI, No. 12 Army, No. 10 Akron, and a classic revenge match against No. 7 Air Force to qualify for the national championship.
By the numbers
After a 6-month journey from match 1 to the national championship, the Frogs bolstered some rather impressive stats and numbers along the way.
From a team standpoint, the Frogs shot a program-best in every major category: 60-shot air rifle (2,394), 60-shot smallbore (2,358), and aggregate score (4,752).
The Frogs maintained the no. 1 average Air Rifle score throughout the course of the season, finishing with a 2,381.8 average. As a team, the Frogs also finished 3rd in the country for average smallbore score, shooting a 2,343.1 on average while rounding things out with the second-best average aggregate score in the country with a 4,725.0.
On an individual level, the Frogs had some of the best shooters in the country. Four Horned Frogs - Stephanie Grundsoee, Kristen Hemphill, Abby Gordon, Stephanie Allan - ranked in the top 30 nationwide for highest aggregate scores, led by no. 5 Grundsoee who averaged an 1,185.1.
Grundsoee was the definition of consistent for the Frogs this past season as she has been throughout her time in Fort Worth. She failed to shoot over 1,180 just once all season and claimed the highest individual score of the Frogs’ season with a 1,194 against UTEP.
Accolades & Awards
Being one of the nation’s top Rifle programs comes with its perks, and by perks, I mean a whole lot of hardware.
The Horned Frogs earned NINE CRCA All-American honors this past year. They read as follows:
1st team All-American
- Stephanie Grundsoee (3rd consecutive year)
1st team Air Rifle
- Stephanie Allan
2nd team Air Rifle
- Kristen Hemphill
- Anne White
2nd team Aggregate
- Kristen Hemphill
3rd team Smallbore
- Kristen Hemphill
Honorable Mention Aggregate
- Stephanie Allan
These four combined for 9️⃣ All-American honors!— TCU Rifle (@TCURifle) March 20, 2022
Grundsoee - Unanimous 1st-Team All-American
Hemphill - Now a 1️⃣2️⃣x All-American
Allan and White - First time All-Americans#GoFrogs pic.twitter.com/PGGh6oSYRn
As well as the All-American honors, the Frogs had eight rifle members earn Big 12 Academic honors. Stephanie Allan, Noelle Christensen, Abigail Gordon, Stephanie Grundsoee, Kristen Hemphill, Nina Schuett, and Grace Taschuk were named to the first team while Taylor Haffner earned second-team honors.
Furthermore, the Rifle team had all ten members earn CSCA Scholastic All-American honors. Anne White, Gianna Yokoe, and each of the athletes listed above combine to make the list.
The Rifle team posted an impressive 3.893 GPA as a team in the fall semester, the highest semester GPA for any TCU athletics team since tracking began.
The Frogs currently have four seniors on the roster. Noelle Christensen, Abigail Gordon, Kristen Hemphill, and Taylor Haffner may all be on their way from Fort Worth, barring any grad-student eligibility.
Although retaining as much of last year’s incredible roster as possible would be ideal, head coach Karen Munoz is prepping to fill some spots.
Katie Zaun, Mikole Hogan, and Julie Johannessen have all signed a National Letter of intent and will be the newest Horned Frogs come fall.
The Frogs 2022/2023 schedule is yet to be announced, but expect the season to begin sometime around late September.