MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The No. 3-ranked West Virginia University rifle team pushed its record to 9-0 on the season with a 4680-4616 victory at Ohio State, today, at the Lt. Hugh W. Wylie Range in Converse Hall, in Columbus, Ohio.
The Mountaineers (9-0, 4-0 GARC) earned wins in both guns, outshooting the Buckeyes in smallbore, 2322-2283, and air rifle, 2358-2333.
Today’s match was WVU’s third on the road this season and first since winning at Nebraska on Oct. 16. Additionally, the Mountaineers’ final score is the squad’s best away from the WVU Rifle Range this season.
WVU’s win over OSU is its second victory in three days, as the Mountaineers trumped No. 4 Alaska-Fairbanks, 4676-4626, on Jan. 20, at the WVU Rifle Range.
“Today was a bit of a challenge for a few of the shooters,” says Mountaineer coach Jon Hammond. “When you travel to a new range, there’s always a need for adjustments, but I think everyone managed the problems well. It was good to go in there, get the win and end our weekend at 2-0.”
WVU’s match today was a preview of sorts for the 2012 National Championships, as OSU will play host to the two-day match on March 9-10.
“Prior to today, only Justin (Pentz) and Mike (Kulbacki) had shot at this range; it was very important that we got in here for a match before the NCAA Championships,” Hammond explains. “Today was a good experience for everyone and it will help us in March. Every range has its own quirks, but now we have something to build on and help us prepare for the championships.”
After sitting out the win over the Nanooks, junior Petra Zublasing returned to the range and finished first overall with an 1180 combined score. OSU’s Amanda Furrer shot 1173 and finished second, while WVU senior Michael Kulbacki shot 1166, one shot short of his season-best mark, and finished third.
Zublasing, an Appiano, Italy, native, finished first in both guns, shooting 592 (97-99-100-100-99-97) air rifle and 588 (199 prone, 194 standing, 195 kneeling) smallbore.
Furrer pushed Zublasing for the wins, as she finished second in both disciplines with scores of 590 air rifle and 583 smallbore.
After shooting a season-best 590 on Friday, Kulbacki continued his strong weekend with a third place, 589 air rifle score. Freshman Taylor Ciotola shot a personal-best 589 and tied for third, while senior Justin Pentz shot 588 for fifth place.
“Mike has more confidence this semester, and his hard training is starting to pay off,” says Hammond.
Freshman Thomas Kyanko finished behind Zublasing and Furrer in smallbore with a 582 score; included in his mark was a school-record 200 prone score. Kulbacki matched his season high and shot 577, good enough for fourth place, while Ciotola shot 575 and finished in fifth place.
Zublasing, Pentz, Kulbacki, Kyanko and Ciotola combined for the Mountaineers’ team scores.
Today’s win is WVU’s 38th straight over the Buckeyes; OSU has never defeated WVU.
The Mountaineers stay on the road and shoot at No. 1-ranked TCU on Saturday, Jan. 28, at the TCU Rifle Range, in Fort Worth, Texas.