No. 1 Rifle Shoots NCAA-Best Score in Win

  • By Shannon McNamara
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  • October 16, 2012 07:49 PM
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The No. 1-ranked West Virginia University rifle team shot a school-record 4717, a NCAA-best team score, in its win over No. 10 Memphis (4634), today, at the WVU Rifle Range.

The Mountaineers’ (4-0, 2-0 GARC) team score tops the previous collegiate record of 4711, shot by Kentucky on Oct. 30, 2011. WVU’s record is its second of the young season, as the team shot a previous-best of 4709 in its win at then-No. 5 Army on Oct. 7.

“These record-setting scores weren’t necessarily expected, and this pace may be hard to keep up with throughout the season, but I’m very happy with our results so far,” says seventh-year coach Jon Hammond. “Across the board, there weren’t any crazy high scores today, but there has been a lot of consistency over the last two weeks from each of these shooters, and that showed.

“Having said that, I think they all still have areas that need improvement. I told them following the match – don’t get too excited. They need to look at themselves and not the team score.”

WVU rolled the Tigers (0-4, 0-3 GARC) in its home opener, winning smallbore, 2348-2291, and air rifle, 2369-2343. The Mountaineers’ smallbore score matched the school record, also shot in the victory at Army.

Five Mountaineers combined for the team scores: senior Petra Zublasing, junior Daniel Sojka, sophomores Taylor Ciotola and Thomas Kyanko, and freshman Garrett Spurgeon.

“We’re certainly not set on our five counters this early in the season – there are a few shooters that are keeping pace with these five, like Meelis (Kiisk) and Patrick (Sunderman), and could count for us in the next match,” Hammond explains. “Overall, I’m happy with the way everyone has shot over the course of the first three matches.”

Spurgeon was triumphant in his WVU Rifle Range debut, shooting a personal-best 589 (200 prone, 191 standing, 198 kneeling) smallbore for the discipline win. The Canton, Mo., native’s prone score also is a school record.

“I knew Garrett had the talent and the potential to succeed when I recruited him,” says Hammond. “He’s a really level-headed kid. I’m surprised that he’s shooting so high so early, but he’s very talented. He has progressed each year since he started shooting, and I knew he could improve even more here. He works hard and listens to the advice I give him.”

Zublasing and Ciotola tied for second place in smallbore with scores of 587; the mark is a personal best for Ciotola, and he also shot a school-record 200 prone. Kyanko finished fifth with a 585, while Sojka shot a personal-best 583 and placed sixth.

Notable among the Mountaineers’ non-counters, Sunderman, a freshman, shot a personal-best 580 and finished in seventh place.

Dan Hermsmeier paced the Tigers in smallbore and finished fourth overall with a score of 586.

Zublasing finished first in air rifle for the third straight match with a season-best 597 (99-99-100-99-100-100) score. Spurgeon shot his second personal-best score of the day and finished in second place with a 592 mark, while Ciotola and Kiisk, also a sophomore, tied for third with 591 scores. Kyanko and Hermsmeier tied for fifth place with 589s.

Of note, Mountaineer junior Chance Cover shot a personal-best 586 and tied for seventh place.

Overall, Zublasing finished first with a combined score of 1184, while Spurgeon placed second with a score of 1181. Ciotola finished third with a mark of 1178, and Hermsmeier paced the Tigers and finished fourth with an 1175 aggregate mark.

With today’s win, the Mountaineers improve to 7-2 all-time against the Tigers.

After three matches in 10 days, WVU will now rest before welcoming Navy to the WVU Rifle Range on Saturday, Oct. 27, for a shoulder-to-shoulder match.