MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The No. 2-ranked West Virginia University rifle team resumed its competition season in winning fashion, earning a 4717-4688 victory over No. 7-ranked Alaska-Fairbanks, today, inside the WVU Rifle Range.
Today’s mark is the team’s highest aggregate score since shooting 4721 in a win at Ohio State on Oct. 23. The Mountaineers (8-0, 5-0) have shot 4700 or better in all eight matches this year, including a season-best 4724 in a win at Akron on Oct. 22.
“Today was a good start to the semester,” Mountaineer coach Jon Hammond said. “It’s always a bit of a challenge to come back from a break, and there were signs of rust today, but I was happy with our solid, consistent performances across the board. We have a lot to build on and work toward as we continue to get ready for postseason.”
The Mountaineers shot 2343 smallbore and 2374 air rifle to earn both team discipline wins. The Nanooks (5-2) shot 2327 smallbore and 2361 air rifle.
Sophomore Ginny Thrasher
returned to competition following a two-match hiatus and earned the smallbore victory with a 590 (196 kneeling, 199 prone, 195 standing) mark.
“I didn’t expect anything less from Ginny today, but I think the break from shooting was important for her and something she needed,” Hammond explained. “This should be a great time for her to get back into training and work on things she wants to work on. As a coach, it was great to see her have this type of performance and still have things she wants to improve on as well.”
Junior Elizabeth Gratz
finished in third place in smallbore with a 587 total, and senior Jean-Pierre Lucas
followed in fourth place with a 585 mark. Freshman Milica Babic
finished fourth on the team, seventh overall, with a 581 score. The Belgrade, Serbia, native’s smallbore total included a school-record 200 prone score.
Luke Johnson paced the Nanooks and finished second in smallbore with a 588 score.
UAF’s Sagen Maddalena earned the individual air rifle win today with a 598 mark. Thrasher (98-100-100-100-99-100) and Babic (100-99-100-99-100-99) finished in a tie for second place with matching 597 marks, a career high for the Mountaineer rookie.
“Milica had a really good day. I’m happy for her and how she shot her air rifle match,” Hammond noted. “It was a solid performance, and you could see she had put work in over the break.”
Lucas placed fourth overall with a 592 total, and Anti followed in sixth place with a 590 mark. Phillips shot 588 to finish in eighth place, and Gratz and Anderson followed in ninth place with 585 totals.
Five Mountaineers combined for the team’s scores: Babic, Gratz, Lucas, Phillips and Thrasher.
With the win, the Mountaineers improve to 12-7 all-time against the Nanooks.
WVU returns to the WVU Rifle Range on Friday, Jan. 20, for a shoulder-to-shoulder match against Navy. The Mountaineers will conclude the weekend with a match against No. 8 Nebraska on Sunday, Jan. 22. Both contests are slated to begin at 8 a.m.