MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The top-ranked West Virginia University rifle team concluded the fall portion of its 2010-11 season today with a 4656-4592 win over No. 9 Nebraska at the WVU Rifle Range.
The victory is the sixth straight for the Mountaineers (7-1, 5-0 GARC) and their second Great American Rifle Conference (GARC) win in three days, as they defeated a visiting NC State, 4657-4498, on Friday.
WVU kept its smallbore slate clean today, as it remained undefeated in the discipline with a 2302-2274 win. The Mountaineers also were victorious in air rifle, defeating the Cornhuskers (3-4, 3-2 GARC) 2354-2318.
“Today’s result was very similar to Friday’s in that our air gun outshined our smallbore effort,” says fifth-year coach Jon Hammond. “No one had a particularly good smallbore day, but our air rifle scores are becoming more consistent, and I wanted to see that trend taking shape before the winter break.”
Senior Kyle Smith finished first overall with an 1169 combined score. The DuBois, Pa., native also took the top smallbore spot with a score of 581 (199 prone, 188 standing, 194 kneeling), while his 588 air rifle score, a career-high mark, was good enough for third place.
“Kyle really stood out today,” Hammond says. “He had a pretty good overall showing and I’m glad he was able to end this part of the season on a high.”
Junior Michael Kulbacki finished in second place with an aggregate total of 1166, while seniors Andy Lamson and Tommy Santelli tied for third place with a matching score of 1163.
Janine Dutton paced the Cornhuskers with a combined total of 1149.
Kulbacki took the top air rifle spot with a 590 score. Santelli shot 589 and finished in second place, while Lamson’s 587 score was the fourth-best match mark.
Lamson and Kulbacki each shot 576 smallbore and finished behind Smith. Santelli finished in fourth place with a score of 574.
Smith, Kulbacki, Santelli and junior Justin Pentz (571) combined for the team’s smallbore mark; the Mountaineers’ air rifle score was tallied by Kulbacki, Santelli, Smith and Lamson.
Today’s win improves the Mountaineers’ series advantage to 5-3.
“These first eight matches were a good start to the season for the team,” Hammond explains. “I believe that the hard work they have all put in since September will pay dividends next semester. We still need more consistency. Once we achieve that, those bigger scores will come.
“The team needs a break right now and time away from the range. Rifle is such a mental sport – my hope is that they all take a few weeks off and just not think about their shooting. We’ll return in January and be faced with another intense nine weeks, so this break is crucial to their future success.”
The Mountaineers will resume their season and play host to Akron on Jan. 15, at 8 a.m., at the WVU Rifle Range.