No. 1 Rifle Continues to Roll

  • By Shannon McNamara
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  • November 03, 2013 05:45 PM
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Garrett Spurgeon
MORGANTOWN, W.Va.  – The No. 1-ranked West Virginia University rifle team closed out its fall home season at the WVU Rifle Range with a 4690-4605 victory over No. 16 Akron today.
The margin of victory is the Mountaineers’ (5-0, 3-0 GARC) largest of the 2013-14 season. WVU outshot the Zips (1-2) in both guns, winning smallbore, 2329-2288, and air rifle, 2361-2317. The Mountaineers’ smallbore total is a season high.
Today’s win is the team’s second in as many days, as WVU opened its home weekend with a 4681-4614 victory over No. 12 Mississippi yesterday.
“I’m really pleased with the consistency we showed across the board today,” says Mountaineer coach Jon Hammond. “We shot some good, solid scores, and our improvement was on full display.
“We had some close matches at the beginning of the season, and I know that will help us in March, but it was nice to shoot a comfortable match today. I’m really happy with our overall performance – we have a good foundation to build on this year.”
Sophomore Garrett Spurgeon swept the individual wins, matching his career-best air rifle score of 593 and shooting a season-high 586 smallbore. The Canton, Mo., native established his air rifle personal-best mark yesterday with a second-place finish against the Rebels. Additionally, he also won smallbore against Ole Miss.
“Garrett’s air rifle has come on well in the last few weeks,” explains Hammond. “It’s good to see consistent scores from him. He’s working hard and challenging himself.”
Classmate Patrick Sunderman finished second in smallbore with a season-best 583 score. Senior Daniel Sojka shot a season-best 581 and tied for third place, while juniors Thomas Kyanko, Taylor Ciotola and Meelis Kiisk tied for sixth with 579 marks. The total was a season best for Ciotola.
“Patrick is coming along well and shooting more consistent as he becomes more comfortable here this season,” says Hammond.
Victoria Brown and Tim Hopkins led the Zips in smallbore with 581 marks.
Kiisk finished second in air rifle with a 592 total. Junior Maren Prediger followed-up her career-best effort against the Rebels (599) with a third place, 591 finish. Ciotola shot a season-high 588 and finished fourth, and Kyanko placed fifth with a 585 total.
“Taylor’s had a tough semester, and I’m pleased to see him have a good day,” Hammond explains. “He shot strong in both guns, and I think he’s set a tone late that will help him continue to improve in the spring.”
Brown and Strohl led Akron with 584 scores, good enough for sixth place.
Six Mountaineers combined for the Mountaineers’ team scores. Spurgeon, Kyanko, Kiisk and Sunderman (581 air) counted in both disciplines, while Sojka counted in smallbore and Prediger counted in air rifle.
Three non-counting Mountaineers also shot season-high scores today. Senior Chance Cover shot a season-best 576 smallbore, while redshirt-freshman Jean-Pierre Lucas shot 575. Additionally, freshman Sydney Smith shot a season-best 579 air rifle.
With the win, WVU improves to 12-0 over the Zips.
The Mountaineers will close out their fall semester at new Great American Rifle Conference (GARC) foe Navy on Saturday, Nov. 16, at the Bancroft Hall Rifle Range, in Annapolis, Md.