Morgantown, W. Va. – The No. 3-ranked West Virginia University rifle team ended its fall semester competition undefeated in nonconference and Great American Rifle Conference (GARC) play, defeating No. 13 Navy, 4678-4627, today, at the Bancroft Hall Rifle Range, in Annapolis, Md.
The Mountaineers (6-0, 4-0 GARC) won both guns, outshooting the Midshipmen (7-5, 1-3 GARC) 2326-2295 in smallbore and 2352-2332 in air rifle.
“It’s always a challenge when you go to a new range that you haven’t been to before,” says coach Jon Hammond. “There are different factors to deal with. The atmosphere was really good, and it was a great match to end the semester with.”
For the fourth match in a row, sophomore Garrett Spurgeon
won smallbore with a 586 mark, matching his season high.
Junior Meelis Kiisk
accompanied the smallbore victory with a second-place finish (582), while junior Maren Prediger
and senior Daniel Sojka
tied for fourth (579). The score was a season high for Prediger.
Junior Thomas Kyanko
completed the smallbore counting squad for the Mountaineers (575).
Junior Taylor Ciotola
matched a WVU school record, shooting 200 prone in smallbore for an overall 575 score.
“I think Taylor was really pleased with his prone score,” says Hammond. “He’s been shooting some really solid prone the whole semester. That’s definitely been his strong point so far this season.”
Navy’s Zach Gibson took the third place spot in smallbore with a 581 shot, while Steven Frazier tied for sixth (576) with Mountaineer redshirt-freshman Jean-Pierre Lucas
. Lucas’ mark is a season high in the gun.
Prediger earned the air rifle victory with a 593 score. Kiisk placed second (590), earning an 1172 aggregate score, a high for the season.
Tying for third in air rifle were Kyanko and Spurgeon with 587 marks. Freshman Sydney Smith
shot 586, a season and career high, good enough for fifth in the gun.
Prediger, Kiisk, Spurgeon, Ciotola (581) and Sojka (582) comprised the air rifle counting squad for the Mountaineers.
Navy’s Daniel Jonas (585) and Gibson (584) took sixth and seventh in air rifle for the Midshipmen.
Of note, Spurgeon shot a match-best aggregate for the second match in a row with an 1173 total.
“It was great to see the shooters shoot so many personal highs,” Hammond explains. “That’s always encouraging. It’s great to finish up a semester like that, and hopefully it sets us up well for next semester.”
Today’s win improves the Mountaineers to 23-8 all-time against the Midshipmen.
“It wasn’t one of our highest scores of the season today, but it was a good match,” says Hammond. “It’s been a semester of gradual growth and improvement. We’ll continue to train and keep improving. We’re excited to see what next semester brings.”
The Mountaineers will return to the WVU Rifle Range and begin spring semester competition by hosting GARC foe NC State on January 19, 2014.