The No. 4-ranked West Virginia University rifle team shot 4713 in an NCAA Qualifying Match on Saturday, at the Lt. Hugh W. Wylie Range, in Columbus, Ohio.
Saturday’s scores will be added to the Mountaineers (7-1, 5-1 GARC) ranking average – based on the team’s top-three scores shot at three different venues – and will factor into WVU’s NCAA Championships qualifying mark.
This year’s NCAA Championships will be held March 12-13 at Ohio State University, in Columbus. The Mountaineers look to reclaim the NCAA Championship and earn their sixth title in nine seasons.
West Virginia finished with marks of 2333 smallbore and 2380 air rifle.
“We had a slow start in kneeling today, but we had a really good performance in standing to balance it out,” coach Jon Hammond said. “Air rifle was steady and overall, it was a solid performance, but with plenty of areas of improvement. It will be enough for us to qualify for the championships. That’s always the main objective and now we can get ready for our conference championship this coming weekend before focusing on the NCAA championships.”
In smallbore, freshman Tal Engler shot a personal best 591, including a program-record 200 prone, and placed first. She was followed by classmate junior Jared Eddy in second place with a score of 590.
Sophomore Malori Brown took third after shooting a season-high 588 and freshman Molly McGhin tallied a personal best 587 for fourth. Junior Verena Zaisberger rounded out the top 5 for the Mountaineers with a 585, good for fifth place.
Additionally, sophomore Becca Lamb placed 10th with a 578 mark. She was followed by senior Sarah Osborn and sophomore Calista Smoyer with matching 578’s, good for 11th place. Sophomore Akihito Shimizu took 31st place with a 528 mark.
“It was great to see Tal shoot a personal best in smallbore,” Hammond said. “ I hope that will give her some extra confidence. It’s always good to see them shoot personal bests at this stage of the season and hopefully, we’ll see a few more
Shimizu (100-100-100-100-98-100) won the air rifle title outright with a 598, while Smoyer (100-98-100-99-100-100) followed with a 597, good for second place. Zaisberger (100-99-99-99100-98) tallied a 595 and McGhin (99-99-98-100-99) shot a 593, landing them third and fourth place, respectively.
Eddy and Osborn finished with matching 592’s, good for seventh place and were followed by Engler with a 591 in ninth place.
Additionally, Sanchez (588) and Brown (587) placed 13th and 14th, respectively.
Five Mountaineers counted toward the team’s scores: Eddy, McGhin, Osborn, Shimizu and Smoyer.
Of note, Akron and Ohio State shot alongside the Mountaineers on Saturday. Akron finished with a score of 4683, while Ohio State shot a team total of 4661.
Up next, WVU shoots at the Great America Rifle Conference (GARC) Championship title on Feb. 27.
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