MORGANTOWN, W.Va. –The No. 1 West Virginia rifle team scored a program-best 2337 and won the Great American Rifle Conference (GARC) smallbore title today, at the 2011 GARC Championships, at Mississippi’s Patricia C. Lamar National Guard Center, in Oxford, Miss.
The Mountaineers’ (11-2, 5-1 GARC) defense of their fourth conference title got off to a great start, as the team swept the discipline’s four top spots and five shooters finished in the top eight overall.
“Today was a really good day,” says coach Jon Hammond. “The team looked very sharp and focused, and across the line I saw some great performances.”
Senior Nicco Campriani successfully defended his conference smallbore title, as he shot 591 (200 prone, 194 standing, 197 kneeling) in the open relay and 99.4 in the finals to finish first overall with a score of 690.4. The Florence, Italy, native’s prone score is a school record.
“Nicco’s win personifies the type of leadership we got out of our senior class today,” Hammond says. “We had some great scores from that class, and I’m very happy and proud of them.”
In total, four seniors shot in today’s finals. Andy Lamson shot a personal-best 587 in the open relay and 98.7 in the finals to finish second overall with a 685.7 score, while Brandi Eskew placed third with a final score of 681.7 (583 relay, 98.7 finals). Additionally, Kyle Smith finished eighth overall with a 677.7 score (582 relay, 95.7 finals).
Sophomore Petra Zublasing finished in fourth place, as she shot 581 in the open relay and 99 in the finals for a 680.0 final score. Tied with Kentucky’s Heather Greathouse after the finals (582 relay, 98 finals), Zublasing won a one-shot shoot-off, 9.9-7.8.
Campriani, Zublasing, Lamson, sophomore Justin Pentz (578) and senior Tommy Santelli (577) combined for today’s school-record team total.
No. 4 Kentucky, the only conference team to defeat WVU this season, shot 2322 and sits in second place. Army shot 2311 and is in third place, while Ole Miss (2299) and Memphis (2296) round out the top five.
Campriani’s victory follows his three honors at last night’s conference banquet, where he was named the GARC Shooter and Senior of the Year, as well as the Mountaineers’ GARC Scholar-Athlete representative. Campriani is the third WVU student-athlete to earn the shooter of the year award, and the first since Cory Willis secured the honor in 2000.
The Mountaineers earned 16 all-conference honors, including four first-team awards.
“I think these awards are a reflection of the great season we’ve had,” says Hammond. “We have shown a lot of strength all year. Hopefully, we can turn around tomorrow, continue to shoot well and secure another GARC championship.”
Campriani paced the team with three first-team honors, as he was named to the top all-GARC air rifle, smallbore and combined score teams.
Santelli earned the Mountaineers’ fourth first-team honor and was named to the top combined score team. The Prosperity, Pa., native also earned second team smallbore and air rifle honors.
The GARC Championships conclude tomorrow with the air rifle competition. The open relay begins at 9 a.m. EST, with the finals to follow at 1:30 p.m. All-GARC Combined Score First Team
Tommy SantelliAll-GARC Combined Score Second Team
Justin PentzAll-GARC Combined Score Honorable Mention
Kyle SmithAll-GARC Smallbore First Team
Nicco CamprianiAll-GARC Smallbore Second Team
Tommy SantelliAll-GARC Smallbore Honorable Mention
Brandi EskewAll-GARC Air Rifle First Team
Nicco CamprianiAll-GARC Air Rifle Second Team