MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia University Director of Athletics Oliver Luck announced today the 2014-15 schedule for the two-time defending NCAA champion rifle team.
The Mountaineers’ slate features matches against six of the nation’s top-eight teams, including two shoulder-to-shoulder matches at Alaska-Fairbanks, the 2014 NCAA Championships runner-up.
“Coach Jon Hammond challenges the West Virginia University rifle team each season, and the Mountaineers will face a tough slate in defense of their nation-best 16th NCAA title,” says Luck. “I am excited to follow the team in its quest for a third straight national championship.”
The Mountaineers open the season on Oct. 12 against TCU at the WVU Rifle Range. The team will play host to five matches this season.
“I think our schedule is full of challenging matches,” says nine-year coach Hammond. “There is a chance that many of our student-athletes will be competing at the 2014 ISSF World Championships in September, so I made the decision to start the season a bit later. This will give us a condensed schedule in the fall, but that is something we can manage. We will face many challenges in the spring, including a trip to 2015 NCAA Championships host Alaska-Fairbanks in late January. That road trip will be great preparation for the postseason.”
WVU’s season opener against the Horned Frogs features a match between two NCAA champion teams, as TCU won titles in 2010 and 2012 and finished sixth at last year’s championships.
“Opening with TCU is a great challenge, as they are a strong squad with National Championship experience,” explains Hammond. “Our team will be excited about this match, and it will challenge us right away, which may be exactly what we need.”
Following a match at Ohio State, the Mountaineers will open their Great American Rifle Conference (GARC) season at Akron, new to the conference this year. WVU is the five-time reigning GARC champion.
WVU will close out the fall with five GARC matches in November, highlighted by a match against Memphis, the fourth-place finisher at the 2014 NCAA Championships, on Nov. 8, in Morgantown.
The Mountaineers open the spring season against Nebraska on Jan. 17 at the WVU Rifle Range before traveling to Fairbanks, Alaska, for matches against the Nanooks on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1. WVU is 9-6 all-time against UAF, including two wins in 2012 during its last trip to Alaska.
Upon their return, the Mountaineers will travel to Lexington, Kentucky, for a match at GARC rival Kentucky on Feb. 7. WVU snapped the Wildcats’ streak of GARC regular-season titles at three with a 4702-4688 victory at the WVU Rifle Range last season. UK finished third at the 2014 NCAA Championships.
“Those will be two very challenging weekends for us against possibly the two strongest teams in the country, but that is exactly what we want late in the season,” says Hammond. “Traveling to Alaska is very beneficial, as the school will play host to the 2015 NCAA Championships. That trip will provide us a good look at the range and help us prepare for the championships.”
Following an NCAA Qualifying match at a to-be-determined site on Feb. 21, the Mountaineers will travel to Oxford, Mississippi, for the 2015 GARC Championships, at Mississippi’s Patricia C. Lamar National Guard Readiness Center on Feb. 28 and March 1.
UAF will play host to the 2015 NCAA Championships on March 13-14. The smallbore match will take place on March 13 at the E.F. Horton Rifle Range, while air rifle will follow on March 14 at the Patty Center Gymnasium. UAF previously hosted the national championships in 2007.
For the complete 2014-15 schedule, click HERE