MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The No. 2-ranked West Virginia University rifle team rode a season-high air rifle score to a 4725-4651 win over No. 16-ranked Navy this afternoon inside the WVU Rifle Range.
The Mountaineers’ (9-0, 6-0 GARC) aggregate total, earned in their first Great America Rifle Conference (GARC) victory of the spring season, also is a 2016-17 best. Previously, the team had shot a high of 4724 in a win at Akron on Oct. 22.
“I’m really happy with today’s performance,” Mountaineer coach Jon Hammond said. “Getting back in school and to a regular training scheduled showed. Today’s score is a reflection of how well this team works together and our performance in general.”
WVU’s air rifle score of 2384 was its top mark since shooting its previous season high of 2380 in a win at Ohio State on Oct. 23. The Mountaineers also finished with a 2341 smallbore total. The Midshipmen finished with totals of 2340 air rifle and 2311 smallbore.
“The team’s air rifle performance was particularly strong today,” Hammond added. “Any time you have to drop a 594 mark as your fifth score, you know you’re going to end up with a good total.”
Freshman Milica Babic
had a career day, winning air rifle with a season-best 598 (100-100-100-100-99-99) and placing second in smallbore with a 588 (193 kneeling, 198 prone, 197 standing) mark, also a season high.
“While Milica’s scores were great today, I thought you could really see the hard work she’s been putting in on the mental side of the sport,” Hammond noted. “I think she had a breakthrough in smallbore today, and she put it all together. Then, she followed that performance up with a good air rifle showing.”
Sophomore Will Anti
earned the smallbore win, matching his career-best score of 590 (197 kneeling, 199 prone, 194 standing). The Fort Benning, Georgia, native had not shot better than 583 this season.
“Will’s smallbore performance was excellent,” Hammond said. “He’s been working really hard this semester and making changes, and he’s starting to show progress. Today’s score shows he’s working on the right things and moving in the right direction.”
Thrasher finished second behind Babic in air rifle with a 597 mark. Lucas matched his season-high score of 595 and placed third, while Gratz and Phillips tied for fourth place with 594 marks. Today is the second time this season Phillips has totaled her career-best score. Additionally, Anti and Anderson shot 582.
Five Mountaineers combined for the team’s scores today: Babic, Gratz, Lucas, Phillips and Thrasher.
With the win, WVU improves to 26-8 all-time against Navy.
The Mountaineers return to competition on Sunday, Jan. 22, against No. 8 Nebraska. The smallbore relay will begin at 8 a.m. and will take place inside the WVU Rifle Range. The teams will move to the indoor track inside the WVU Shell Building at 1 p.m. for the air rifle relay, and fans are encouraged to attend the afternoon session. Parking and admission are free, and bleacher seating will be provided. The team will meet with fans and sign autographs following the match.