MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The No. 1-ranked West Virginia University rifle team opened the 2013-14 season with a 4657-4648 win over No. 10 Ohio State today at the WVU Rifle Range.
The Mountaineers (1-0) won air rifle, 2356-2343, while the Buckeyes (0-1) scored a 2305-2301 victory in smallbore.
“I think everyone needed today,” says Mountaineer coach Jon Hammond. “It was good to be back in a match situation. We definitely needed it, and today is something we can build off of for the rest of the year.
“It’s early in the season, and we’re still getting in the flow. I did not expect us to be at our peak today. There’s some rustiness on the team, but overall I think everyone knows we can shoot a little bit better. There’s a lot to improve on, but I’m sure that it will come in the next month.”
WVU junior Maren Prediger
shot a career-best 599 (100-100-100-100-100-99) for today’s air rifle win. The Petersaurach, Germany, native’s score was one shot short of the NCAA and WVU record.
“Maren shot probably one of her best air rifle matches ever,” Hammond explains. “She started with a solid smallbore match today, and that was big because the scores were so close. For her to step-up and shoot that type of performance in air rifle was just fantastic. I think she’s really improving this year, and this was a great start for her. She’s someone we can count on to be very consistent in air rifle this season.”
OSU’s Remington Lyman won smallbore with a 584 mark. Mountaineer sophomore Garrett Spurgeon
tied Buckeye Deanna Binnie for second with a 581 (193 kneeling, 196 prone, 192 standing) score.
Lyman finished second (592) in air rifle, while WVU senior Daniel Sojka
tied with Binnie for third place (588). Spurgeon and senior Chance Cover
each shot 587 and placed fifth; the score was one-shot short of Cover’s personal-best mark. Junior Meelis Kiisk
finished seventh with a 586 score.
Despite the smallbore team loss, WVU shot seven of the match’s top-eight scores. Sojka finished fourth with a 580 mark, while Sunderman shot 578 and finished fifth. Cover placed sixth with a personal-best mark of 576, and Prediger and Kiisk tied for seventh with 574s. Prediger’s smallbore score was two-shots below her career high.
Of note, smallbore matches have been adjusted this season, as student-athletes will shoot kneeling first, then prone then standing.
Today’s Mountaineer scoring squad was comprised of Prediger, Kiisk, Spurgeon and juniors Taylor Ciotola
and Thomas Kyanko
Mountaineer redshirt-freshman Jean-Pierre Lucas
and freshman Sydney Smith
made their WVU debuts today. Both had their best showings in air rifle, with Lucas shooting 581 and Smith shooting 575.
“I’m sure Jean-Pierre and Sydney both would have wanted to shoot a little better, but for their first match in a new situation, I think they did well and have something to build on,” Hammond says.
Lyman shot a match-best 1176 combined score, while Prediger paced WVU with a 1173 total.
With today’s win, WVU improves to 40-0 all-time against OSU.
The Mountaineers open their Great American Rifle Conference (GARC) season next weekend, as they travel to No. 6 Nebraska for a match on Sunday, Oct. 13, at the Nebraska Rifle Range.