MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University rifle team is ranked No. 3 in the Collegiate Rifle Coaches Association (CRCA) Preseason Poll.
Defending national champion TCU is ranked No. 1, with Great American Rifle Conference (GARC) foe Kentucky ranked No. 2. Alaska-Fairbanks follows the Mountaineers at No. 4, while Army is ranked No. 5.
“TCU returns the same squad that won the NCAA title and deserves the No. 1 ranking,” says seventh-year WVU coach Jon Hammond. “Preseason rankings mean very little once the season gets under way, but our competition will be tough once again.
“I am not surprised by the top four, as all of these teams generally rank in the top four week in and week out each season, and we expect to be fighting hard with them throughout the year all the way through to the NCAA Championships. We are ready for the challenges we know we will face.”
Mississippi follows fellow GARC opponent Army at No. 6, while Jacksonville State is ranked No. 7 and Murray State checks in at No. 8. Nevada is ranked No. 9, and Ohio State and Nebraska are tied at No. 10.
Six of the Mountaineers’ 2012-13 opponents are preseason ranked in the Top 10, and WVU will face every school in the Top 5 but TCU.
Five letterwinners return from a squad that went 12-2 and finished sixth at the 2012 NCAA Championships, including senior Petra Zublasing
, a 2012 London Olympics competitor, three-time National Rifle Association First Team All-American and the defending NCAA air rifle champion.
WVU opens its season at Army on Sunday, Oct. 7.