The TCU rifle team remained one of the elite programs in the country during the 2022-23 season, where the Horned Frogs won the Patriot Rifle Conference Championships and finished as the runner-up at the NCAA National Championship meet in Akron, Ohio. TCU was nearly flawless during the regular season, winning every competition prior to the Patriot Rifle Conference Championships in Fairbanks, Alaska earlier this winter. While the Horned Frogs took second in smallbore at the conference meet, TCU rallied with a stellar shooting performance in the air rifle competition to win that portion of the event and accumulate enough team points to surpass No. 2 ranked Alaska for the championship.
TCU opened the 2022-23 season as the No. 2 ranked team in the nation and the Horned Frogs made a statement during their first meet of the season, defeating Army and VMI in Annapolis, Maryland while setting a new NCAA record with a team score of 4,758. TCU fired a school-record 2,365 in smallbore and the program’s second-highest air rifle score of 2,393. The Horned Frogs cruised through October 2022 with a series of victories against Air Force, Memphis, Ohio State and Nebraska while ascending to No. 1 in the national rankings.
- - -— TCU Rifle (@TCURifle) March 20, 2023
In her debut campaign, Johannessen led the nation in smallbore average and ranked in the top four in air rifle and aggregate average. She earned 1st-team distinction in all three categories.#GoFrogs pic.twitter.com/FZ63VGLHqc
TCU’s perfect season continued into November, where the Horned Frogs swept a four-team road meet against West Virginia, Kentucky and Alaska in both air rifle and smallbore. TCU concluded November with back-to-back home victories over UTEP before returning to action in January 2023, where the Horned Frogs scored consecutive home wins against Ohio State. TCU concluded the regular season with a pair of victories against Nebraska and UTEP to enter the Patriot Rifle Conference Championships in February as the team to beat.
Freshman sharpshooter Julie Johannessen led the Horned Frogs in the smallbore competition at the conference meet, setting an NCAA record with a score of 598 as TCU ended the first day in second place behind Alaska. But a dominant effort in the air rifle competition enabled the Horned Frogs to rally and secure the conference title, with TCU edging Alaska by one point (4,750-4,749). Johannessen once again shined for the Horned Frogs, shooting a perfect 600 and becoming not only the second TCU shooter in program history, but the sixth in NCAA history to fire two perfect scores in the air rifle discipline. Johannessen’s aggregate score of 1,198 for the competition was also an NCAA record.
TCU secured its berth in the eight-team field at the NCAA National Championships after winning the qualifier event at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs on Feb. 18. The Horned Frogs entered the national meet as the top team in the country, but struggles during the smallbore competition resulted in TCU ending the first day in sixth place. As was the case at the conference meet, however, the Horned Frogs rallied back during the air rifle competition, ultimately rising to second in the standings but falling just short of winning the national championship. Johannessen’s 599 as well as Katie Zaun’s 597 and Stephanie Grundsoee’s 595 allowed TCU to surge up the standings on the second day.
TCU will have several shooters eligible to return for the upcoming 2023-24 campaign including Zaun, who was named an CRCA All-American First Team honoree in both air rifle and smallbore during her freshman season. Grundsoee, who is now a 12-time CRCA All-American after garnering First Team honors across all three categories (air rifle, smallbore and aggregate), will also return as a graduate student. The Horned Frogs will lose a pair of talented graduate students from the 2022-23 roster including Kristen Hemphill and Abigail Gordon, who were two of top five scoring shooters by cumulative average this season.
Mikole Hogan, Anne White and Nina Schuett are three shooters who could see increased roles for the 2023-24 season. The Horned Frogs will also return graduate student Stephanie Allan and welcome one new freshman in Kaylynn Slaughter. Tragically, TCU will be without its standout freshman Johannessen, who passed away at the age of 21 earlier this year. A candlelight vigil in her memory was held in the common area on the TCU campus in April.