MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The No. 1-ranked West Virginia University rifle team shot 4716 at its NCAA Qualifying Match today, at the Lt. Hugh W. Wylie Range in Converse Hall, in Columbus, Ohio.
The Mountaineers’ (11-1, 5-1 GARC) score is their highest since shooting the same total at Alaska-Fairbanks on Nov. 18.
“Today was a great result, especially on the road and in a qualifying match,” says Mountaineer coach Jon Hammond. “There’s a comfort factor with this range, which is great since we will return in March for the NCAA Championships. Above all that, I was really happy with the team’s approach to this meet today. I think we learned a lot from our Kentucky match. We’ve worked really hard to correct our mistakes, and I think that’s coming through.”
After shooting 2335 smallbore in the day’s opening relay, WVU tallied an NCAA-best 2381 in air rifle. The Mountaineers’ total is five shots better than their previous school record of 2376, shot this season against Ole Miss on Nov. 9 and at UAF on Nov. 17.
“I knew we had the potential to shoot well in air rifle,” continues Hammond. “Today’s score is a result of everyone shooting strong at the same time, and we can do it again.”
Five shooters combined for the team’s scores today: senior Petra Zublasing
, sophomores Taylor Ciotola
, Meelis Kiisk
and Maren Prediger
, and freshman Garrett Spurgeon
After shooting a school-record 594 smallbore one week ago, Zublasing continued her hot streak today, as the Appiano, Italy, native shot a team-best 598 (100-98-100-100-100-100) air rifle and 593 (198 prone, 197 standing, 198 kneeling) smallbore. She finished with an 1191 aggregate total.
Prediger pushed Zublasing in air rifle, as she equaled her score with a personal-best 598 (100-99-100-100-99-100). She also shot a personal-best 565 smallbore, giving her an 1163 aggregate total, also a personal high.
Kiisk shot a personal-best 595 air rifle, the team’s second-best mark, while Spurgeon shot 590 and Ciotola tallied 589. Freshman Patrick Sunderman
shot 587, while junior Chance Cover
shot 584 and sophomore Thomas Kyanko
Spurgeon followed Zublasing in smallbore with a 586 mark. The score is his best since shooting 587 against Ole Miss. Kiisk shot 579 toward the team total, while Ciotola shot 577.
Several non-counting Mountaineers had strong smallbore days, with Kyanko leading the charge with a 580 total. Additionally, junior Daniel Sojka
shot 579, redshirt-freshman Matthew Martin
shot a personal-best 578 and Cover shot a career-high 575.
Of note, Cover shot a career-best 1159 combined score, while Martin tallied a personal-best 1142.
WVU now awaits its official invitation for the 2013 NCAA Rifle Championships. A selection show is scheduled to air on NCAA.com on Wednesday, Feb. 20, at 5 p.m.
The Mountaineers will shoot for their fourth straight Great American Rifle Conference title next weekend, Feb. 23-24, at Mississippi’s Patricia C. Lamar National Guard Readiness Center, in Oxford, Miss.