Milica Babic Rides Momentum Role For WVU Rifle
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — In many ways, WVUsophomore Milica Babic is like many of her ultra-accurate teammates on the Mountaineer rifle team. The Belgrade, Serbia native sticks to a routine on the range, and the results are outstanding. However, there is one difference — the rapid manner in which she competes.
While most target shooters are very methodical in their approach, often going down to the last few minutes of alloted time before completing their 60 shots, Babic is just the opposite. She gets in a groove, and her attempts fly downrange at a much faster rate. At last week’s dual match win over Kentucky, Babic was finished with her 60 shots in air rifle before any of her teammates got to the 40 shot mark, and whe was out of her competition gear, in warmups, and talking with friends while the rest of the team was still in the competition.
That speed certainly doesn’t hinder her accuracy. She shot a 598 out of a possible 600 in air rifle on the day, and is averaging 596.3 on the season — less than half a point behind team leader Ginny Thrasher. While most others are pausing between every shot to reset and refocus, Babic’s only move between many of her attempts is the minimum — reaching for a reload before sighting in and firing again.
“I really like to shoot fast because I get into my rhythm, and when I get into my rhythm I don’t lose sight of my perfect tens,” said Babic, who certainly accounts for plenty of them. “I do slow down if I shoot below a 10.3. It helps me to stop and refocus and help a nine from coming on that next shot.”
In NCAA competition, bulls eye shots (10 points) are further differentiated from 10.1 through 10.9, which rate how much of the bullseye is covered by each shot. Ten point nine is the maximum, and those are used to break ties when necessary. However, in international competition, the scoring includes all those decimal places, making those that cover more of the bullseye more valuable. With the same approach in terms of pace, though, Babic doesn’t change no matter the type of competition. It can be mesmerizing to see shot after shot hit that 10 mark, and as they unspool so quickly it’s clear that the phrase “being in the zone” applies here just as it does in other sports where accuracy is of paramount importance.
Babic and her teammates are now getting ready for the postseason, with the all-important NCAA Qualifiers up first on Sat., Feb, 17 at 10:00 a.m. in the WVU Shell Building. The Mountaineers would seem to have few worries about qualifying, as they continue to hold top scores in both air rifle and smallbore this year, but one bad day could put a big damper on that. WVU has a team score average of 4737, which is determined by the top three scores at three different venues. That’s a full ten points ahead of second place TCU, but the team, as Babic explains, is all about looking forward and continuing to win titles.