WVU Rifle Edges Murray State, Trumps Ohio State

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    Kevin Kinder
    Kevin Kinder
    Muskets: 8,975

    In the first-ever collegiate rifle match held inside the WVU Coliseum, the No. 3-ranked West Virginia University rifle team shot a winning 4683 this evening at the Bill McKenzie Rifle Range.

    The Mountaineers (4-0, 2-0 GARC) edged No. 6 Murray State (5-2, 2-0 OVC) by four shots, as the Racers finished in second place with a 4679 total. No. 10 Ohio State (3-3, 2-1 PRC) shot 4650 and placed third.

    The Mountaineers (4-0, 2-0 GARC) finished first in air rifle with a 2368 total. The Racers shot 2360 and finished second, while the Buckeyes finished third with a 2352.

    WVU shot 2315 and finished second in smallbore to Murray State, who shot a winning 2319. OSU shot 2298 for third place.

    “It was an awesome day to shoot our first match in the WVU Coliseum,” Mountaineer coach Jon Hammond said. “It’s such a great facility, and to see it set up as a rifle range was very cool. Our facility crew and staff did a great job with the setup, and today really provided a valuable experience for our team. We’re excited to come back out tomorrow and again compete inside the WVU Coliseum.”

    A pair of Mountaineers finished first in the individual competitions.

    Making her 2018-19 season debut, junior Morgan Phillips, the two-time reigning NCAA smallbore champion, finished first in the discipline with a 589 (197 kneeling, 196 prone, 196 standing) total.

    “Morgan was really happy to shoot the match and feel comfortable,” Hammond said. “We’ve been working her back slowly from a little injury. It was nice to see her shoot comfortably and to have a good performance as well. Today was a good first step for her.”

    Junior Milica Babic shot a season-high, winning 597 (100-100-100-99-99-99) air rifle for the third consecutive match.

    “Milica has been very consistent this season,” Hammond noted.

    Senior Ginny Thrasher finished second in smallbore with a 584 total, while freshman Jared Eddy shot a career-best 581 and tied for fourth place.

    “It’s just his third match, and Jared shot another personal best,” Hammond said. “He’s doing a really good job working on the things he should, and he’s listening well to the coaching staff. We’re excited to see if he can replicate this performance again tomorrow.”

    Sophomore Sarah Osborn shot 578 and finished in sixth place, and classmate David Koenders followed in seventh place with a 577 total.

    Babic shot 576 and tied for ninth place. Senior Will Anti and sophomore Noah Barker followed with marks of 566 and 565, respectively, a season high for Barker.

    Of note, Thrasher and Koenders matched the program’s prone record of 200.

    In air rifle, Thrasher tied for second place with a 594 total.

    “Ginny’s match was really good as well,” Hammond explained. “The score may not reflect it, but she shot very solid and her center count was very high.”

    Anti shot a season-best 591 and placed seventh, while Eddy finished in eighth place with a 590. Osborn shot 586 and finished in 10th place, and Koenders and Barker shot matching 585s and placed 12th.

    Five Mountaineers counted toward the team’s scores: Anti, Babic, Koenders, Osborn and Thrasher.

    “Overall, there are a few things we can work on tomorrow to continue to grow and improve, and we’re excited for the opportunity,” Hammond said.

    With the wins, WVU improved to 25-3 all-time against Murray State and 46-0 against Ohio State.

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