No. 1 Rifle Wins Seventh Straight

  • By Shannon McNamara
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  • November 11, 2012 06:36 PM
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The No. 1-ranked West Virginia University rifle team picked up its second Great American Rifle Conference (GARC) win in three days and pushed its win streak to seven with a 4697-4596 victory over visiting No. 13 NC State, today, at the WVU Rifle Range.

The Mountaineers (7-0, 4-0 GARC) swept the Wolfpack in both guns, winning air rifle, 2358-2317, and smallbore, 2339-2279.

Five shooters combined for the team’s scores: senior Petra Zublasing, junior Daniel Sojka, sophomores Taylor Ciotola and Meelis Kiisk, and freshman Garrett Spurgeon.

The Mountaineers’ victory was their second of the weekend, as they trumped No. 9 Ole Miss, 4720-4624, on Friday; the team’s score was a NCAA record.

“We didn’t have our best scores of the season, and maybe that was a bit of fatigue, but I also think that’s just what happens,” says seventh-year coach Jon Hammond. “Today wasn’t everyone’s best day, and there were a few struggles, especially in kneeling, but I was happy to see everyone dig in and grind out a score. Despite the struggles, our scores were still strong and show our consistency and patience. I’m really happy with the maturity that’s starting to show on this team.”

Zublasing won both disciplines for the second time this weekend, shooting 595 (100-98-99-100-98-100) air rifle and 590 (199 prone, 193 standing, 198 kneeling) smallbore.

Sophomore Maren Prediger tied Zublasing for the air rifle win, as she shot a personal-best 595 (100-100-100-98-100-97); she shot 594 in her Mountaineer debut on Friday. NCSU’s Madeline Pike finished third with a 591, while Kiisk and freshman Patrick Sunderman tied for fourth place with 589s; the mark matched Sunderman’s career high.

Of note, redshirt-freshman Matthew Martin shot a personal-best 571.

Three Mountaineers tied for second place in smallbore, with Kiisk, Spurgeon and Sunderman all shooting 584; the score was the second personal best of the day for Sunderman. Ciotola and Sojka tied for fifth place with scores of 581, with Ciotola also shooting a school-record 200 prone for the second time this weekend. Pike paced the Wolfpack and finished seventh with a score of 577.

Junior Chance Cover and Martin each shot personal bests in smallbore with scores of 572 and 570, respectively.

Zublasing finished first overall with a combined score of 1185. Sunderman and Kiisk tied for second with aggregate scores of 1173, and Spurgeon placed fourth with a 1170.

“We’re pushing for the whole team to always show improvement, and I’m really happy with the strides some of our non-counters have made over the course of the fall season,” says Hammond. “Chance has shown great improvement from last season, and Patrick is starting to get it down in his first year. This may be one of the deepest team’s we have had at WVU in a long time.”

With today’s win, the Mountaineers improve to 14-0 all-time against NCSU.

WVU closes out its fall season with a historical trip, as the Mountaineers will travel to No. 7 Alaska-Fairbanks for two matches against the Nanooks on Nov. 17-18.