No. 1 Rifle Opens 2013-14 Season

  • By Sara Wells
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  • October 04, 2013 01:52 PM
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Morgantown, W.Va. - The No. 1-ranked West Virginia University rifle team welcomes No. 10 Ohio State on Saturday, Oct. 5, to the WVU Rifle Range.

The Mountaineers’ match is the season and home opener for the 2013 NCAA Champions.

The Mountaineers own a 39-0 series advantage against the Buckeyes. In their last meeting, WVU outshot the Buckeyes in both guns and won the match 4690-4594.

Seven All-Americans return this season: senior Daniel Sojka, juniors Taylor Ciotola, Meelis Kiisk, Thomas Kyanko, and Maren Prediger, and sophomores Garrett Spurgeon and Patrick Sunderman. Senior Chance Cover also returns for the Mountaineers this season.

“I’m definitely excited,” says WVU rifle coach Jon Hammond. “It shows that we’re bringing a lot of depth back, and we’re bringing the core of our team back. We still have a lot of experience here. It’s great to have that many shooters who are All-Americans who can come back and improve.”

The team’s top returner in smallbore is Spurgeon (583 avg. in 2012-13), and in air rifle is Prediger (594 avg. in 2012-13).

Two newcomers, redshirt-freshman Jean-Pierre Lucas and freshman Sydney Smith, also join the team this season.

“Jean-Pierre worked really hard over the summer here, and I think he’s probably shown the most amount of improvement,” says Hammond. “It’s great to have that. It gives us a little more depth on the team. He basically pushes everyone else.

“This year is an interesting one. We don’t really have a captain this year. I think leadership will come from a lot of different places. Our seniors do have a big role to play and an example to set whether they’re on the counting team or not. It will be a group effort this year.”

The Mountaineers ended their 2013 season with an 11-1 record overall and a 5-1 record in the Great America Rifle Conference (GARC). They also won their fourth consecutive GARC title.

Former Mountaineer Petra Zublasing, the leader in both guns last season, won national titles in smallbore and air rifle at the 2013 NCAA Championships.

OSU shot a score of 4631 at the Ole Miss Invitational last Sunday, Sept. 29, firing a team air rifle record score of 2344.

Senior Amanda Luoma led the Buckeyes in air rifle with a score of 587, while sophomore Remington Lyman shot a team-high smallbore score of 581.

Saturday’s match will begin at 8 a.m. and will go into the afternoon.