MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Six members of the No. 1-ranked West Virginia University rifle team earned a combined 14 all-conference honors this evening at the Great American Rifle Conference (GARC) Championship Banquet, in Oxford, Miss.
The awards were presented on the eve of the 2014 GARC Championships, set for March 1-2, at Mississippi’s Patricia C. Lamar Readiness Center. The Mountaineers (10-0, 7-0 GARC) will shoot for their fifth straight title.
“It’s always good to earn conference honors,” says Mountaineer coach Jon Hammond. “We’ve had such a good season, so it’s nice to see the team pick up some individual awards, too.”
Sophomore Garrett Spurgeon
was one of three shooters to earn three first-team honors, as the Canton, Mo., native scored All-GARC smallbore, air rifle and combined score recognitions. The 2013 GARC Rookie of the Year, the honors are the second career smallbore and combined score first-team recognitions for Spurgeon; he was named to the Honorable Mention Air Rifle Team last season.
“Garrett has been strong this year, and these awards reflect that,” continues Hammond. “He’s one of the conference’s and the nation’s strongest shooters, and we’re excited to see how he shoots throughout the postseason.”
Spurgeon paces the team in smallbore with a 584.0 season average. He also averages 592.0 in air rifle and an 1177.0 combined score mark.
Junior Maren Prediger
earned her second career All-GARC First Team Air Rifle honor tonight. The Petersaurach, Germany, native averages 595.0 in the gun this season, the second-best mark on the team. She also was named to the All-GARC Combined Score Second Team and earned the team’s scholar-athlete honor.
Of note, junior Ziva Dvorsak
was not eligible for tonight’s awards, as she did not compete in enough matches this season. The Ljubljana, Slovenia, native leads the team with 596.0 air rifle and 1179.0 combined score averages. She also averages 584.0 in smallbore.
Junior Meelis Kiisk
and sophomore Patrick Sunderman
also earned three honors at tonight’s banquet. Kiisk, a native of Paide, Estonia, was named to the All-GARC Smallbore, Air Rifle and Combined Score Second Teams. Sunderman, a Farmington, Minn., native, was named to the All-GARC Air Rifle and Combined Score Second Teams and the All-GARC Smallbore Honorable Mention Team.
Senior Daniel Sojka
and junior Thomas Kyanko
were named to the All-GARC Smallbore Second Team. Kyanko, a Wellsburg, W.Va., native, also was named to the All-GARC Combined Score Honorable Mention Team.
The Mountaineers, the GARC regular-season champions, open the defense of their four straight championship titles tomorrow morning, with the first team smallbore relay scheduled for 8 a.m. ET. The team air rifle competition will begin at 9 a.m. ET Sunday. The individual finals will be held after team relays each day.