MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The No. 1-ranked West Virginia University rifle team shot 2335 smallbore and sits in first place at the end of day one at the 2013 Great American Rifle Conference (GARC) Championships, held at Mississippi’s Patricia C. Lamar National Guard Readiness Center, in Oxford, Miss.
Senior Petra Zublasing
, the 2013 GARC Shooter and Senior of the Year, set her second WVU smallbore record in three weeks, shooting 595 (199 prone, 199 standing, 197 kneeling) in the open relay and 101.4 in the final for a 696.4 score and the discipline win. She also shot a school-record 199 standing. The Appiano, Italy, native is the fourth different Mountaineer to win the GARC smallbore title, and the first since Olympic Gold medalist Nicco Campriani won in 2010 and 2011. WVU has won five GARC individual smallbore titles.
“Petra is on a roll right now, and she is improving with each match,” says Mountaineer coach Jon Hammond. “She’s really stepped up her understanding of smallbore this year, and that’s helping her get better. That’s all a credit to who she is – she’s a perfectionist and is always looking to get better.”
The Mountaineers (11-1, 5-1 GARC) own a six-shot lead over No. 2-ranked Kentucky, who sits in second with a score of 2329.
“We had a good, solid day,” explains Hammond. “All our shooters shot above 570, so we can’t complain. We still lost a lot of points out there and have things we can improve on and do better, but they were all disciplined and worked hard. This is exactly how we need to approach these bigger competitions.”
No. 7-ranked Nebraska is in third place (2312), while No. 6 Army is fourth (2297). Memphis is fifth (2293), NC State is sixth (2290), host Ole Miss is in seventh place (2286) and Navy is eighth (2275).
Two Mountaineers shot alongside Zublasing in the final. Sophomore Thomas Kyanko
finished fourth with a total of 684.4, while freshman Garrett Spurgeon
placed eighth with a 677.6 score.
Kyanko, a Wellsburg, W.Va., native, entered the final in second place with a 587 mark, his best score since shooting a career-high 591 in the team’s season-opening win at Army on Oct. 7. He shot 97.4 in the final.
Spurgeon, a native of Canton, Mo., shot 582 in the open relay and 95.6 in the final.
“It was great to see three shooters in the final today fighting for the title,” says Hammond.
Five Mountaineers shot toward the team score – Zublasing, sophomores Maren Prediger
, Taylor Ciotola
and Meelis Kiisk
, and Spurgeon. Kiisk tallied 580 and finished 10th, while Ciotola shot 578 for 15th. Of note, though her score was the lowest of the five counters, Prediger shot a personal-best 570; she previously shot a high of 565 three times.
In addition to Kyanko, freshman Patrick Sunderman
also shot as a non-counter today and shot 578.
The Mountaineers continue their quest for their fourth straight GARC title tomorrow with team air rifle. First shot is scheduled for 9 a.m. ET, with individual finals to follow at 1:45 p.m.