What a Month!

  • By Sara Wells
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  • March 21, 2014 03:01 PM
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Junior Maren Prediger signs autographs for fans at the national championship celebration.
The West Virginia University rifle team has a whirlwind month.
On March 1-2, the Mountaineers competed at the Great American Rifle Conference (GARC) Championships in Murray, Ky., and earned their fifth straight championship title. Their 2337 smallbore victory and second-place 2363 air rifle showing gave them a 4700 team score, good enough for their eighth title.
A week later, on March 10, the team celebrated its 2013 National Championship with a visit to the White House for NCAA Champions Day. For the first time in school history, WVU student-athletes were given the opportunity to be congratulated by President Barack Obama and tour the White House.
On March 14-15, the Mountaineers defended their national title with a championships record 4705 team score at the NCAA Championships. They won a back-to-back and nation-best 16th title.
The team took national titles home in smallbore (2338) and air rifle (2367).
Here’s a look at the Mountaineers’ showing at the 2014 NCAA Championships by the numbers:
• The Mountaineers shot an NCAA Championships-best 4705 over the two-day tournament, held at Murray State’s Pat Spurgin Rifle Range and CFSB Center, in Murray, Ky., March 14-15; the previous record of 4700 was shot by Kentucky in 2011
• The national title is the second straight for the No. 1-ranked Mountaineers and the third since 2009 under eight-year coach Jon Hammond
• The Mountaineers are the only WVU team to win an NCAA Championship and own a nation-best 16 national titles
• WVU is the first team to win consecutive NCAA titles since Alaska-Fairbanks won three straight from 2006-08
• WVU last won back-to-back championships with four straight victories from 1995-98
• WVU won its second straight NCAA air rifle title on March 15 with a score of 2367
• WVU won its first NCAA smallbore title under coach Hammond with a 2338 score on March 14; the score was the team’s second-highest of the season and top mark since shooting 2342 in a win over NC State on Jan. 19
• WVU held a 17-shot advantage entering the air rifle competition
• Three Mountaineers represented WVU in each of the discipline finals, the most of any squad at the championships
• Junior Maren Prediger finished second in air rifle with a 205.0 mark in the final; she entered the eight-shooter final with a championships-best mark of 596
• Sophomore Garrett Spurgeon finished second in smallbore with a 451.6 mark in the final; he also finished fifth (143.5) in air rifle
• Junior Ziva Dvorsak finished third (185.1) in air rifle and seventh (401.0) in smallbore; she entered the eight-shooter final with a championships-best mark of 588
• Junior Thomas Kyanko finished sixth in smallbore with a 412.6 mark; he finished seventh at the 2013 NCAA Championships
• The Mountaineers finished the season at 10-0, 7-0 in the Great American Rifle Conference (GARC); this was the squad’s first undefeated season since 2010
• WVU has recorded 23 undefeated seasons since 1951
• The Mountaineers collected 14 All-America honors - 10 National Rifle Association All-America awards and four College Rifle Coaches’ Association (CRCA) All-America Team awards