MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – For the first time in school history, a West Virginia University athletic team will visit the White House and meet with the President of the United States for NCAA Champions Day.
Members of the WVU rifle team will meet with President Barack Obama on the afternoon of March 10, at the White House, in Washington, D.C., to celebrate the squad’s 2013 National Championship.
“This is a great honor,” says Mountaineer coach Jon Hammond. “We’re honored to be the first WVU team to attend the White House. This promises to be a great moment for the student-athletes, and I’m glad they have the chance to enjoy this experience. Hopefully, this day will be something they’ll look back on fondly when they’re older.”
“I am ecstatic for coach Jon Hammond and our rifle team,” says WVU Director of Athletics Oliver Luck. “When I was with the Houston Dynamo, we won two MLS championships and visited the White House after both titles. I know how special this will be for the rifle program, our coaches and student-athletes. The members of the team will remember this day for the rest of their lives. It truly will be a great day for West Virginia University as we celebrate our 15th rifle national championship at the White House.”
Monday’s visit precedes the No. 1-ranked Mountaineers’ trip to the 2014 NCAA Championships, set for March 14-15, at Murray State.
“This is such a special event to be a part of, and we’re going to try to make it a really fun, great day outside of the range and a distraction from the upcoming championships,” says Hammond. “We want to enjoy a nice, relaxed day, and we’ll shift our focus back to the championships when we return.”
Included in the Mountaineers’ travel party is three-time NCAA champion Petra Zublasing, who is making a special trip back from Europe to the United States for the visit.
The Mountaineers won their nation-best 15th NCAA title with a 4679 final score at the 2013 NCAA Championships, on March 9, at Ohio State. WVU overcame a one-shot smallbore deficit for the victory. Zublasing became the first shooter to sweep the NCAA individual titles since 2001, winning air rifle (701.7) and smallbore (688.3), and pushing her career NCAA title haul to three.