MORGANTOWN, W.Va.– The No. 2 –ranked West Virginia University rifle team will travel to No. 4 Alaska-Fairbanks for back-to-back matches on Nov. 17 -Nov. 18, at the E.F. Horton Rifle Range.
The Mountaineers (7-0, 4-0 GARC) hold a 6-6 series record over the Nanooks (2-1). This is the first time WVU is traveling to the University of Alaska-Fairbanks for competition. Sunday’s match will feature a championship-style final.
The two teams hold 24 NCAA titles combined and are the winningest teams in NCAA history. The Mountaineers won their nation-best 14th championship in 2009, and the Nanooks have won 10 titles.
The Mountaineers defeated UAF last year, 4676-4626. WVU has won the last four matches against the Nanooks.
“This is definitely a bigger trip, with regards to the distance that we are going and the travel,” says coach Jon Hammond. “Alaska-Fairbanks is a big rival that we will be going up against. I think this will be a really good experience for the younger guys with traveling a long way and competing on the road. It is going to be a new venue for all of us since we haven’t been up there before. I don’t think there is too much different to prepare for; we just need to be ready to go and shoot our best and obviously take a lot of warm clothes and be ready for a long weekend.”
The Mountaineers are coming off two home victories this past weekend as they defeated then- No. 9 Ole Miss, 4720-4624, and No. 13 NC State 4697- 4596. WVU’s win over Ole Miss was an NCAA team-score record, and the team’s second school record total shot this season.
“We have been working hard this semester and we want to continue to work on shooting good performances and doing the best we can in every match,” adds Hammond.
WVU outshot the Rebels in both air rifle (2376-2335) and smallbore (2344-2289) on Friday. Senior Petra Zublasing
swept the individual competitions, shooting 599 air rifle and 592 smallbore. Sophomores Taylor Ciotola
and Maren Prediger
rounded out the top three in air rifle, shooting 595 and 594, respectively. The match was Prediger’s Mountaineer debut. Freshman Patrick Sunderman
shot a career best 584 in smallbore, while freshman Garrett Spurgeon
Zublasing swept both of the competitions against NC State shooting 595 air rifle and 590smallbore .Prediger shot a personal-best 595 air rifle as well. Sunderman, Spurgeon and sophomore Meelis Kiisk
all shot 584 smallbore and tied for second place.
“I think the second day will be more of a challenge with shooting two matches back-to-back,” concludes Hammond. “I think jetlag will definitely be a challenge; it is something that we will just have to play by ear and see what happens. Shooting the second day with the finals is definitely going to give it more of a championship type feel. It is the end of the semester, and they will be jetlagged from travel. It may be a day where they have to dig in a little bit and fight for every point.”
UAF recently defeated then- No. 20 University of Texas El Paso, 4664-4467, on Saturday, Nov. 3, at its home range.
The matches are all expected to go into the afternoon, and results will be posted later at night. A link for live scores will be available HERE