MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The No. 1-ranked West Virginia University rifle team has earned a bid to the 2014 NCAA Rifle Championships, as announced this evening by the NCAA Rifle Committee.
Murray State plays host to the championships March 14-15, at Pat Spurgin Rifle Range and CFSB Center, in Murray, Ky.
The Mountaineers (10-0, 7-0 GARC), the defending National Champions, qualified for their seventh straight championships. WVU has won two national titles since 2009, and the squad will shoot for its nation-best 16th title.
“The goal every year is to qualify for the NCAA Championships,” says Mountaineer coach Jon Hammond. “I think we put ourselves in a really good position throughout the season with some good scores. We had a good performance at the NCAA Qualifier match last weekend, so we knew we’d be safe tonight. It’s nice to know we’re there, and now we can start the planning and preparation for the championships.
“I think it’s great that we’re at the point with this program that we are expected to qualify for the NCAA Championships yearly. It’s a nice thing to achieve, but we don’t think about it too much, and that’s a good reflection of where we are as a program.”
Joining the Mountaineers at the championships are: No. 2 Kentucky, No. 3 Alaska-Fairbanks, No. 4 Nebraska, No. 5 Jacksonville State, No. 6 Memphis, No. 7 Army and No. 10 TCU.
The squads qualified based on the average of their three highest regular-season aggregate scores, with each score recorded at a different range. The average of the three scores was added to the aggregate total from the team’s designated qualifier to determine the final field.
The Mountaineers shot a nation-best 4710 at Murray State’s Withrow Invitational on Jan. 24, the first time the team competed at Pat Spurgin Rifle Range this season. WVU also shot its NCAA Qualifying match at the range on Feb. 22 and finished with a 4691 mark.
A total of 48 competitors will compete at the championships, with eight selected as individual qualifiers. A new NCAA rule this season stipulates that a school that qualifies as a team is disqualified from sending individual qualifiers.
The Mountaineers will shoot for their fifth straight Great American Rifle Conference title this weekend, March 1-2, at the conference championships, in Oxford, Miss.