MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Seven athletes with ties to the West Virginia University rifle and track & field teams are prepped and ready for competition at the 2012 London Summer Olympic Games.
Five current and former Mountaineer shooters will compete in the rifle events, set to take place July 28-August 6, at the Royal Artillery Barracks.
Nicco Campriani, the 2011 NCAA air rifle champion, enters the Games as the favorite to win the men’s 10m air rifle and the men’s 50m rifle 3 position. The reigning air rifle world champion, Campriani is ranked No. 1 in the world in both events. Competing in his second Games for Italy, the Florence native returns to the Olympic stage after finishing 12th in air rifle in Beijing in 2008.
Campriani has participated in 12 International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cups since winning the air rifle world championship in 2010 and has made 10 finals appearances, including four podium finishes. Since April, he has picked up five medals on the ISSF circuit, including Gold in the men’s 50m rifle 3 position at the Munich ISSF World Cup and the men’s 10m air rifle at the Milan ISSF World Cup.
At this time, Campriani, the first qualified athlete from any sport for these Games, also is scheduled to shoot in the men’s 50m rifle prone event.
Seven-year Mountaineer coach Jon Hammond will line up against Campriani in the men’s 50m rifle prone and 50m rifle 3 position events. A native of Aberdeen, Scotland, Hammond will be competing in his second consecutive Olympic Games for Great Britain.
Former Mountaineer Eric Uptagrafft will shoot for the United States in the men’s 50m rifle prone. Ranked No. 6 in the world, Uptagrafft, the 1993 NCAA smallbore champion, will shoot in his second career games. He last qualified in 1996 for the Atlanta Summer Olympics.
Rising WVU senior Petra Zublasing
, the reigning NCAA air rifle champion, will shoot for Italy alongside Campriani. A native of Appiano, Zublasing, ranked No. 32 in the world in the women’s 10m air rifle, is shooting in her first Olympic Games. In addition to air rifle, she also is scheduled to compete in the women’s 50m rifle 3 position.
In addition to these four shooters, USA rifle coach Dave Johnson will represent WVU. The 1983 NCAA smallbore champion, Johnson previously shot at the 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympics and coached the USA at the 2004 Athens Games and the 2008 Beijing Games.
Zublasing will be the first Mountaineer to compete in the London Games, as the women’s 10m air rifle qualification will begin at 8:15 London GMT tomorrow. The event’s final and medal ceremony later in the day are the first of the Games.
The men’s 10m air rifle qualification and finals are scheduled for Monday, July 30, and the men’s 50m rifle prone will follow on Friday, Aug. 3. The women’s 50m rifle 3 position event will be held on Saturday, Aug. 4. The rifle events will conclude on Monday, Aug. 6, with the men’s 50m rifle 3 position.
In the track & field arena, WVU will be represented by Sarah-Anne Brault
and Clara Grandt. Each qualified as alternates for the Canadian and USA Teams, respectively. Brault is an alternate for the women’s triathlon, while Grandt is an alternate for the women’s 10,000-meter. The women’s triathlon final is scheduled for Aug. 4, while the women’s 10,000m race is set for Aug. 3.
In addition to its seven Olympic athletes, WVU also secured the honor of leading all NCAA schools with five Capital One Academic All-America selections competing at the London Summer Games: Campriani, Zublasing, Uptagrafft, Johnson and Brault.
Fans can find TV and online listings for all events at www.NBCOlympics.com.