MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The No. 1-ranked West Virginia University rifle team closed out its home and regular seasons with a resounding 4700-4628 victory over No. 11 Murray State, today, at the WVU Rifle Range.
Senior Petra Zublasing
stood out in her final Mountaineer home match, as she opened the competition with a winning, school-record 594 (199 prone, 197 standing, 198 kneeling) smallbore score. The Appiano, Italy, native nearly shot a school record in air rifle, too, but she dropped her final shot of the relay, finishing with a first place, season-best mark of 599 (100-100-100-100-100-99). Zublasing’s aggregate total of 1193 is a school record.
“Petra had an awesome performance today,” says Mountaineer coach Jon Hammond. “She shot her smallbore record first. To follow that up with a 599 in air rifle was just fantastic. She doesn’t struggle under pressure at all, but every shot of the match is hard, and to shoot a 600 in air gun is extremely hard. She took two or three holds on the last shot, but it just wasn’t meant to be today.
“Having said that, she definitely battled in this match. Anyone would have felt a little extra pressure on that last shot. Petra is capable of shooting 600 on any given day. I think she would have really liked that score today, but she was delighted with her overall performance.”
Zublasing’s smallbore score was one shot better than the previous Mountaineer record of 593, first shot by Olympic Gold medalist Nicco Campriani at the Winthrow Invitational on Jan. 21, 2010. Zublasing had shot 593 once this season, as she tallied the score on Nov. 18 at Alaska-Fairbanks; she first shot 593 against Murray State on Oct. 30, 2011. Her aggregate record toppled Campriani’s record of 1192, shot against Columbus State, in Lexington, Ky., on Feb. 6, 2011.
“Petra has been knocking on the door of this smallbore record all season,” Hammond continues. “To set the new mark is just great. It’s a special record. Nicco is one of the best Mountaineer shooters ever; he was the best shooter in the world last year. I know Petra is happy to have finally set that record.”
The Mountaineers’ (11-1, 5-1 GARC) team total is their first 4700+ score of the spring semester. WVU defeated the Racers (1-8) 2328-2292 in smallbore and 2372-2336 in air rifle.
“It’s was nice to get this extra match in today,” Hammond says of the contest that was just added on Feb. 4. “Hopefully, over the next three matches, we can build on this result. We want to tweak a few things and slowly improve, with the hope that we peak in a month at the NCAA Championships.
“We can definitely shoot better, but this was a solid day. No one had a terrible day, and we’ll use this result to figure some things out. We’re fortunate to have depth on this squad. We’re going to see how everything plays out over the next few weeks as we prepare for the championships.”
Sophomore Maren Prediger
kept pace with Zublasing throughout the air rifle relay, as the Petersaurach, Germany, native just missed tying for the win with a career-best 598 (100-100-100-99-100-99) total.
The Mountaineers were solid in air rifle today, as seven shooters shot 580 or better. Sophomore Meelis Kiisk
finished third with a 589 mark, while classmates Taylor Ciotola
and Thomas Kyanko
tied for fourth place with 586s. Junior Chance Cover
and freshman Garrett Spurgeon
each shot 583 and tied for eighth.
WVU solidly outshot Murray State in smallbore, as the Mountaineers swept the discipline’s top–five spots. Spurgeon finished second behind Zublasing with a 581 score, while Kiisk shot 578 and finished third. Kyanko tallied 576 and finished fourth, while junior Daniel Sojka
shot 575 and tied the Racers’ Tessa Howard for fifth place.
Zublasing, Prediger, Kiisk and Spurgeon shot toward the team’s smallbore and air rifle scores today. Ciotola contributed to air rifle, while Sojka shot toward smallbore.
With the win, WVU improves to 21-3 all-time against Murray State.
The Mountaineers will travel to Columbus, Ohio, next Saturday, Feb. 16, and shoot an NCAA Qualifying Match against Ohio State at Converse Hall.