MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - The No. 2-ranked West Virginia University rifle team defeated No. 4 Alaska-Fairbanks, 4719-4670, Saturday night, at the E.F. Horton Rifle Range.
The Mountaineers’ (8-0, 4-0 GARC) team score was one shot short of the NCAA record, set by WVU in its win over Ole Miss on Nov. 9.
WVU earned victories in both disciplines, winning smallbore, 2343-2320, and air rifle, 2376-2350; the Mountaineers’ air rifle mark matched the school record, also set in the match with the Rebels.
“This was a great performance today,” says coach Jon Hammond. “A few needed some time to settle in to the match at the beginning, and I wasn’t sure about the outcome early on, but everyone was patient and professional, and I couldn’t be more proud of how this team shot as a whole.
“Our air rifle scores have really picked up lately, and that’s good. I’m definitely pleased with this road score, and I think we’re setting ourselves up nicely the postseason.”
Senior Petra Zublasing
won both disciplines, shooting 597 air rifle and 588 smallbore. Sophomore Meelis Kiisk
tied for the smallbore win; the mark is a career best for the Paide, Estonia, native. Kiisk also finished second in air rifle with a career-best score of 594.
“Meelis was the highlight of today,” Hammond says. “He is becoming a much more consistent and mature shooter. It’s awesome to see these results from him in this environment.”
UAF’s Ryan Anderson finished third in smallbore with a 586 score. Freshman Garrett Spurgeon
shot 585 and finished fourth, while sophomore Taylor Ciotola
shot 582 and finished fifth.
Of note, junior Chance Cover
matched his career-best score with a 572 mark.
Ciotola tied Kiisk for second in air rifle with a 594 mark. Sophomores Thomas Kyanko
and Maren Prediger
finished fourth and fifth, respectively, with scores of 592 and 591; the mark is a season best for Kyanko.
Anderson, Tim Sherry and Cole Bures paced the Nanooks with 589s.
Six Mountaineers counted toward the team scores tonight, with Zublasing, Ciotola, Kiisk and Spurgeon counting in both guns; junior Daniel Sojka
contributed to the team’s smallbore mark, and Prediger counted toward the team’s air rifle score.
With the win, WVU improves to 7-6 all-time against UAF.
The Mountaineers will close out their fall season with another shoulder-to-shoulder match against UAF Sunday.