MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The No. 1-ranked West Virginia University rifle team defeated No. 7 Nebraska, 4659-4612, this evening at the WVU Rifle Range.
Additionally, despite not shooting in the same range, WVU (11-0, 7-0 GARC) also defeated Great American Rifle Conference (GARC) foe Memphis, 4659-4530. The outcome was based on each team’s score in their respective NCAA qualifying match and makes-up for the squads’ postponed Jan. 31 match. By virtue of today’s win over the Tigers, WVU has earned the GARC regular-season title, the program’s sixth award and first since 2003.
WVU shot 2306 smallbore and 2353 air rifle and earned four discipline victories tonight. NU shot 2284 smallbore and 2328 air rifle, while the Tigers registered 2227 smallbore and 2303 air gun. The Mountaineers have not lost a discipline match this season.
“Today’s team scores were not as high as I would have liked, but we had some strong individual performances in both guns,” says fourth-year coach Jon Hammond. “Winning the conference regular-season championship is a nice honor for this squad. Ultimately, this is another accomplished goal on a long list of team objectives. We now want to finish first at the conference championships.”
Junior Nicco Campriani finished first overall with an aggregate score of 1187. The Florence, Italy, native earned victories in both guns, shooting a school-record 598 air rifle (98, 100, 100, 100, 100, 100) and 589 smallbore (198 prone, 195 standing, 196 kneeling); Campriani’s standing score matches a school-record.
Sophomore Justin Pentz finished second with an 1170 combined score, while junior Brandi Eskew and senior Bryant Wallizer shot 1169 and tied for third.
Janine Dutton paced the Cornhuskers with an 1161 combined score.
Three Mountaineers finished behind Campriani in smallbore with personal-best scores. Eskew finished second (588), while Pentz finished third (586) and junior Tommy Santelli finished fourth (585).
Costello shot 593 and finished second to Campriani in air gun. Wallizer shot 592 and finished third, while junior Andy Lamson shot 591 and finished fourth.
Today’s victories push WVU’s regular-season win-streak to 17. At 11-0, the Mountaineers’ unblemished regular-season record matches that of the 2001 squad, the last WVU team to enter postseason action undefeated; since 1990, 10 Mountaineer teams have completed their regular season schedule without a loss.
The Mountaineers improve to 5-3 and 3-2 all-time against the Cornhuskers and the Tigers, respectively. Today’s win is WVU’s second over NU this season, as the Mountaineers previously defeated the Cornhuskers, 4660-4634, on Oct. 11 in Lincoln, Neb.
Today’s qualifying scores will be added to current team-ranking averages, with the top eight squads advancing to the NCAA Championships, March 12-13, in Fort Worth, Texas.
WVU has a quick turnaround before competing at the GARC Championships on Feb. 20-21, in Oxford, Miss. Kentucky narrowly defeated the Mountaineers, 4650-4645, at last year’s championships.