MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The No. 2-ranked West Virginia University rifle team shot 4724 in an NCAA Qualifying match today at the WVU Rifle Range.
The Mountaineers’ (12-0, 8-0 GARC) score is the top qualifying mark shot today. No. 3 Murray State will shoot a qualifying match tomorrow.
Today’s score will be added to the Mountaineers’ ranking average – based on their top three scores shot at three different venues – and will factor into the team’s NCAA Championships qualifying mark.
The eight-team field for the 2017 NCAA Championships will be revealed during the NCAA Selection Show on Wednesday, Feb. 22, at 5 p.m., on NCAA.com.
“Today was a really good day,” Mountaineer coach Jon Hammond noted. “It was a very steady, solid team performance. As a coach, it was great to see the consistency. We didn’t see any personal bests or season highs, but we still earned a solid team score. That’s great to see – we don’t need spectacular scores to shoot well as a team.”
WVU finished with scores of 2345 smallbore and 2379 air rifle.
Sophomore Ginny Thrasher
paced the Mountaineers in both disciplines, shooting 592 smallbore (198 kneeling, 200 prone, 194 standing) and 597 air rifle (100-100-100-100-98-99), a mark matched by freshman Milica Babic
(99-99-99-100-100-100). Included in Thrasher’s day was a school-record 200 prone mark.
Junior Elizabeth Gratz
followed Thrasher in smallbore with a 586 mark, and freshman Morgan Phillips
finished third on the team with a 585 score. Senior Jean-Pierre Lucas
, shooting in his final career match at the WVU Rifle Range, placed fourth with a 582 mark, and Babic finished with a 581 score. The five Mountaineers counted toward the team’s scores in both guns. Sophomore Will Anti
and freshman Jack Anderson
shot 574 and 558, respectively.
Lucas finished third on the team in air rifle with a score of 593. Phillips shot 592 and placed fourth, and Gratz followed with a 590 mark. Anti shot 586, and Anderson tallied 567.
“I think we’re in a good rhythm right now,” Hammond said. “We’ve continued to improve each match and every week in training. There’s obviously a comfort level with shooting at home, but today felt like a serious match, and they all were well prepared and professional.”
Of note, No. 5 Alaska-Fairbanks shot alongside the Mountaineers today and finished with a score of 4699.
The Mountaineers travel to Akron, Ohio, next weekend for the 2017 Great American Rifle Conference Championships, set for Feb. 24-25, at the Stile Athletics Field House. WVU has won the last seven conference championships and 11 total.