No. 5 Rifle Earns First GARC Win

  • By Sara Wells
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  • October 13, 2013 08:12 PM
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MORGANTOWN, W. Va. – The No. 5 ranked West Virginia University rifle team won its first Great American Rifle Conference (GARC) match of the 2013-14 season at No. 9 Nebraska, 4656-4650, today, at the Nebraska Rifle Range in Lincoln, Neb.

The Mountaineers (2-0, 1-0 GARC) won air rifle 2349-2335, while the Huskers (0-1, 0-1 GARC) won smallbore 2315-2307.

"It was a little bit too close today for sure,” says Mountaineer coach Jon Hammond. “We're focused on the season as a whole. Fortunately it went our way today. I just have to trust that the team will shoot well and manage to pull it out."

Despite the smallbore team loss, sophomore Garrett Spurgeon placed first in the discipline with a 584 score. He also placed second in air rifle with a score of 590.

“Garrett's a seasoned performer and was a First Team All-American last year,” says Hammond. “I think he was pretty satisfied with his overall performance today. It was a good improvement from last week, and hopefully he can be a really strong shooter for us this year.”

WVU junior Meelis Kiisk won air rifle with a 593 score and placed fifth in smallbore (577). He improved his scores in both guns from last week’s season opener.

Sophomore Patrick Sunderman placed third in air rifle, matching his career-best mark of 589.

“Patrick had a great match. To shoot as well as he did in air rifle after some trouble in smallbore showed a good bit of courage,” explains Hammond. “He had a really good performance and hopefully there's a lot he can learn from the weekend, both in his struggle at smallbore and in his performance in air rifle.”

Nebraska’s Denise Martin (581), Lauren Phillips (580) and Rachel Martin (578) helped the Huskers to the smallbore win, placing second through fourth in the gun.

WVU seniors Daniel Sojka and Chance Cover’s scores counted in both guns. Sojka placed 11th in smallbore (571) and improved from the season opener in air rifle with a 582 mark, good enough for 10th. Cover took the seventh spot in smallbore (575) and shot 572 in air rifle.

Completing the Mountaineer scoring squad were Kiisk and Spurgeon’s showings, as well as Sunderman’s smallbore mark and junior Maren Prediger’s air rifle score.

Spurgeon shot a match-best 1174 combined score, while Phillips and Martin led the Huskers with 1162 combined scores.

Mountaineer redshirt-freshman Jean-Pierre Lucas tied his career-high smallbore score (571) and shot a career high (585) in air rifle.

“It's only Jean-Pierre’s second college match, but he's going in the right direction,” says Hammond. “He's working really hard, and he's going to improve during the season.

“There were good things in our performance today, and we shot a good match. We're going to be able to shoot some better scores this year and beat some good teams."

Today’s win improves WVU to 9-3 all-time against the Huskers.

The Mountaineers will play host to their next GARC opponent, No. 8-ranked Army, on Saturday, Oct. 26, at the WVU Rifle Range.