The 1956 Nevada rifle team won the Wolf Pack’s first national championship and becomes just the second team to be inducted into the Nevada Athletics Hall of Fame in its 35-year history. Nevada captured the National Intercollegiate Rifle Championship in Berkeley, Calif., in March of 1956, setting a national record with 1,443 points out of a possible 1,500. The 1956 team included Max Botz, Gene Espin, Terry Katzer, John Middlebrook, Dick Mills, Bill Rusk and Chuck Taylor and was coached by Sgt. Joel Cantrell. During that 1956 season, the team also won the 31-team Southwest Invitational in El Paso and the Eastern Washington College of Education Invitational. At the prestigious Hearst Intercollegiate Shoot that year, Nevada finished second and won the Sixth Army title. For his efforts, Cantrell was awarded the Army’s Commendation Ribbon with Medal Pendant, one of the top peacetime awards available for meritorious service, while Katzer and Rusk were named All-Americans.
Junior Mark Nowaczewski allowed one run and tied his career-high with six strikeouts in eight innings as the Wolf Pack defeated Fresno State 7-3 to clinch the Mountain West series. Nowaczewski earned back-to-back MW Pitcher of the Week honors for his performance.