MORGANTOWN. W.Va.- The No. 1-ranked West Virginia University rifle team is set to travel to No. 3 Kentucky to shoot for the regular season Great American Rifle Conference (GARC) title on Feb. 2, Baker Hall, in Lexington, Ky.
The Mountaineers (10-0, 5-0 GARC) hold a 14-8 series edge record over the Wildcats (9-1, 5-0 GARC).
Since 1998, WVU and UK have battled for both the regular-season and tournament GARC titles. The Wildcats are the two time reigning regular-season title holders, and have won the title five times. The Mountaineers own a six conference best regular-season and championship titles. WVU, the three time reigning GARC champions, last won the regular-season crown in 2010. UK holds five tournament wins, winning its last in 2009.
In the last meeting, WVU hosted its GARC foe and was swept in both guns, with UK winning air rifle, 2365-2356, and smallbore, 2315-2294.
“Kentucky is one of the top teams in the country and is always a big rival for us,” says coach Jon Hammond. “This match decides the regular-season conference championship, so it means a lot. How we approach it really has to be the same as every other match for us to get a good result.”
The Mountaineers are coming off of a week-long break after defeating then- No. 8 Nebraska, 4689-4661, at home on Jan. 19.
WVU won smallbore, 2324-2309, with sophomore Meelis Kiisk
pacing the team with a 583 (198 prone, 192 standing, 193 kneeling) mark. Junior Daniel Sojka
and sophomore Thomas Kyanko
tied for second with scores of 581.
In the air rifle competition, the Mountaineers outshot the Cornhuskers 2365-2352. Senior Petra Zublasing
, who did not compete in smallbore, took first place with a 598 (99-100-99-100-100-100) score. The match was the Appiano, Italy, native’s final home match. Sophomore Maren Prediger
finished behind Zublasing with a 593 mark.
UK recently defeated then- No. 10 Memphis, 4646-4598, on Jan. 20 in Oxford, Miss. The Wildcats swept the Grizzlies in both guns, winning air rifle, 2346-2322, and smallbore, 2300-2276.
“This match is going to be a good test of where we are leading up to our final matches of the season,” Hammond concludes. “Our four remaining matches are all really important. I think this weekend’s competition will help us start getting in the mind set of putting in the best performances that we can and prepare us for the end of the season.”
Saturday’s match is expected to go into the afternoon. Live scores will be available HERE