TCU's 'Dream Team' on a mission
Trio of Horned Frog seniors sets sight on third title in four years
FORT WORTH, Texas -- When Sarah Beard, Caitlin Morrissey and Sarah Scherer stepped on campus in the fall of 2009, no one could have foreseen the path they would pave. One grew up in Massachusetts, another in Indiana and the third in Kansas. All three made their way to a small campus in the heart of Texas.
“I can’t say I could have predicted what they have accomplished,” head coach Karen Monez said. “They started their collegiate careers strong, they stayed strong and now they are finishing strong. It was my dream to have a team like this.”
|TCU 'DREAM TEAM' --- BY THE NUMBERS|
|1||In 2009, TCU became the first all-female rifle team to win a national crown.|
|2||The number of team national titles TCU has won since the trio of Sarah Beard, Caitlin Morrissey and Sarah Scherer joined the squad in 2009.|
|16||The total of All-American honors Beard, Scherer and Morrissey have collected together in three seasons.|
|19||The Horned Frogs' current win streak dating back to the 2011-12 season.|
|43||The number of wins TCU has compiled since 2009. The Horned Frogs have only suffered two losses in that span.|
While Scherer and Morrissey came highly recruited, it was Beard who was the unknown in the class. A late-bloomer in the sport of shooting, Beard’s dad, William, was an Olympian in the 1984 games. His connection with Monez was the link that brought Beard to campus.
“When I came on campus, my one goal for shooting was to make it on the travel squad, that was it,” Beard said. “I never dreamed All-American or NCAAs, I just wanted to travel everywhere.”
Scherer splashed onto the scene as a junior in high school, performing well at a number of national events. Morrissey had made a name for herself at a young age, consistently shooting solid scores. Together, the trio turned into one of the most dominating classes the sport of collegiate rifle has ever seen.
“It’s been really cool to see the growing process and the changing process in all areas,” Scherer said. “I came as a freshman with quite a bit of experience as a shooter, so I felt confident knowing what I wanted to accomplish. I definitely knew the potential we had of winning championships, but I guess I had a hope for that instead of actually foreseeing it. It was just putting the effort in and coming together as a team to make it happen.”
Fast forward three years and the path is marked by victory after victory, two individual national championships, two team air rifle national championships and two team national championships. Numerous All-American accolades were a testament to each team member as an individual.
Their legacy is clear, not just at TCU but in the NCAA rifle history books. A co-ed sport where men and women compete as equals on the firing range, the TCU women made history in 2009-10 when they became the first group of all-females to win the title. A repeat in 2011 was not in the cards, but the fire was fueled and the ladies returned with a vengeance in 2012 to win their second title in three years.
“When we started our freshman year, we really had the expectation to just go out and give it our best and that just happened to be the national championship,” Morrissey said.
All three agree that not repeating as national champions in 2011 has driven them to succeed each of the last two seasons. Heading into that final match in 2011, the Horned Frogs were riding a 22-match winning streak. Kentucky halted TCU’s run with a dominating performance at the championships. The loss showed the trio that they couldn’t take anything for granted.
“We had the huge expectation, we wanted to win another championship, and when we didn’t walk away with that, it was very disappointing,” Morrissey said. “I think that had a lot to do with the drastic increasing of the score that happened after our sophomore year and into last year when we won it again.”
While rifle is a team sport comprised of individual scores, all three recognize that it takes a total team effort to be the best on any given day. The lessons learned during the past three-plus seasons have formed each of the individuals into a dynamic group that has obliterated school and national records this season.
Beard says it best when discussing a sport that relies heavily on five individuals being at their best on the same day. “As individuals we are strong, but we are stronger as a team.”
As the clock winds down on their careers, the trio are searching for their third title in four years. They are riding a 19-match winning streak dating back to the start of the 2011-12 season. In their careers, they have suffered just two defeats and have a combined four-year record of 43-2.
“They have defined what the TCU women’s rifle team is right now, we are a championship team because of them,” Monez said. “They have such a competitive edge. They know how to win. That’s what makes them so special. And they have excelled not only as athletes but academically as well. They are truly the 'Dream Team.'”