MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The No. 3-ranked West Virginia University rifle team defeated No. 9 Navy, 4742-4709, on Saturday in Morgantown at the WVU Rifle Range.
“Senior day is always a special match, and there can be extra emotions,” coach Jon Hammond said. “This was a unique year honoring five seniors, and they have all had a big impact on our team in their years here, however many that has been!”
The Mountaineers outshot the Midshipmen in both disciplines, with WVU taking smallbore 2354-2336 and air rifle 2388-2373.
“Today wasn’t necessarily our best team performance, but it’s nice to see our final outcome knowing we can do a lot more,” coach Hammond said.
West Virginia Senior Mary Tucker topped the individual leaderboard with an aggregate score of 1195, including a 597 in smallbore and a 598 in air rifle. The Sarasota, Florida, native earned first in smallbore, while she was part of a three-way tie on top of the air rifle standings. Her smallbore score is good enough to tie her career best, and it’s the second time she has reached that mark this season.
“Mary had another awesome performance today, tying her national record in smallbore with a 200 in standing, so that clearly makes a difference to our team score,” Hammond added. “We really had a number of other really good performances but also know there is lots to improve as well.”
Eight Mountaineers finished inside the top 10 of the individual match leaderboard, including the top two spots. Junior Molly McGhin followed for WVU, earning second with an aggregate score of 1188. McGhin claimed second in smallbore with a 590 and tied Tucker with a 598 in air rifle. The Griffin, Georgia, native set her season bests in air rifle and aggregate score.
Sophomore Natalie Perrin claimed fifth on the aggregate score leaderboard. Perrin notched a 584 in smallbore and a 597 in air rifle for an aggregate score fo 1181. Her air rifle score is a career best, and her aggregate score in her season best.
Junior Matt Sanchez and senior Akihito Shimizu each shot a 1179 to follow Perrin. Sanchez shot a 582 in smallbore and a 597 in air rifle, while Shimizu notched 584 points in smallbore and 595 in air rifle. Sanchez’s 597 in air rifle ties his season best, and it’s the fourth occasion he has reached that number this season.
Fifth-year senior Verena Zaisberger, junior Tal Engler and senior Malori Brown rounded out the Mountaineers in the top ten on the aggregate leaderboard. Brown earned eighth for WVU with 583 smallbore points and 594 air rifle points for an aggregate score of 1177. Engler took ninth after shooting a 584 in smallbore and a 592 in air rifle for an aggregate score fo 1176, while Zaisberger was right behand her with a 579 in smallbore and a 596 in air rifle for an aggregate of 1175.
Junior Becca Lamb, senior Calista Smoyer and freshman Visnu Pandian also competed for the Mountaineers. Lamb put up a 1172 after earning 578 smallbore points and 594 air rifle points. Smoyer notched 568 smallbore points and 591 air rifle points for an aggregate score of 1159, and Pandian shot a 1144 with a 556 in smallbore and a 588 in air rifle.
West Virginia wraps up the regular season compaign on Saturday, Feb. 11, as it travels to The Bluegrass State to take on No. 4 Kentucky. Live stats for the match in Lexington can be found on WVUsports.com.