MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The No. 1-ranked West Virginia University rifle team used a season-high smallbore mark to cruise to a 4713-4650 victory this afternoon over No. 14 Memphis at the WVU Rifle Range.
Today’s match was the Mountaineers’ (5-0, 3-0 GARC) first at the Range since defeating Ohio State on Oct. 2 in their 2016-17 season opener, and the team’s first home Great America Rifle Conference (GARC) match of the year.
“It was nice to be back at the WVU Rifle Range today, especially after a week away from competition,” Mountaineer coach Jon Hammond said. “It’s always nice to shoot inside your home range.”
The Mountaineers marked their return to Morgantown with a season-high 2351 smallbore score. The squad also shot a winning 2362 air rifle. The Tigers finished with marks of 2310 in smallbore and 2340 in air rifle.
“We started the day great with a strong smallbore showing,” Hammond noted. “That was a really good team performance across the board.”
Junior Elizabeth Gratz
led the way with a winning, career-high score of 590 (195 kneeling, 200 prone, 195 standing). Included in her showing was a program-record 200 prone score.
“Elizabeth was the true standout in smallbore with her career-best score,” Hammond said. “She’s been working really hard, especially on the mental side of the sport, and I think that hard work is beginning to show. I’m happy with all the work she’s been putting in throughout the semester.”
Sophomore Ginny Thrasher
finished second in smallbore with a 589 mark, and freshman Morgan Phillips
placed third with a career-high 588. Senior Jean-Pierre Lucas
shot a 584 mark, good enough for fourth place, and sophomore Will Anti
finished sixth with a season-high 583 total.
Levi Clark paced the Tigers and finished tied for fourth place with a 584 score.
Babic won air rifle with a 592 (99-99-96-100-99-9) mark. Gratz shot 591 and finished in second place, while Thrasher placed third with a 590. Lucas also finished fourth in air rifle, shooting 589.
Anderson shot a career-high 588 and finished in fifth place. Phillips and Anti added scores of 585 and 584, respectively.
“I’m pleased for Jack; he’s been working hard all semester alongside his teammates,” Hammond said. “There’s always a settling in time during your freshman season. He’s working on a lot of changes, and he’s been very coachable and committed to making those changes. The first half of the semester was a bit inconsistent, so it was good to see him have a strong performance today.”
Clark also paced the Tigers in air rifle with a 584 score.
Five Mountaineers shot toward the team’s smallbore and air rifle totals: Babic, Gratz, Lucas, Phillips and Thrasher.
“Overall, their attitude was good throughout the match,” Hammond concluded. “They were professional in how they shot. They worked on everything they needed to, and they were patient and disciplined.”
The Mountaineers concluded their fall schedule with a pair of GARC matches in West Point, New York, next weekend. WVU opens against Mississippi on Saturday, Nov. 12, before shooting against host Army West Point on Sunday, Nov. 13. Both matches are slated to begin at 8 a.m.