WVU Rifle Wins Home Opener

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    The No. 2-ranked West Virginia University rifle team opened its 2018-19 home season with a 4711-4639 win over Memphis at the Bill McKenzie Rifle Range inside the WVU Shell Building.

    The Mountaineers (2-0, 2-0 GARC) swept the Tigers (1-1, 0-1 GARC) in the discipline competitions, winning smallbore, 2331-2304, and air rifle, 2380-2335.

    All three of WVU’s scores are season highs.

    “I think it was a good match for us to have and to get back into the swing of things,” Mountaineer coach Jon Hammond said. “We had some good performances today. There were a lot of good lessons for the team members, which made this a productive outing. It’s always nice to get back home. The Bill McKenzie Rifle Range is still relatively new for us as a team, and it was good to compete again in this setting. It really feels like our season is underway now.”

    Senior Ginny Thrasher won the individual competitions, shooting a season-best 599 air rifle (100-100-100-100-99-100), just one shot short of a perfect score, and 589 (197 kneeling, 199 prone, 193 standing) smallbore.

    In air rifle, junior Milica Babic finished second with a 597 mark, matching her season high. Sophomore Sarah Osborn shot a season-best 593 and placed third, while sophomore David Koenders and freshman Jared Eddy tied for fifth place with 591 marks, a career-best showing for Eddy.

    Senior Will Anti placed eighth with a 582 score, and sophomore Noah Barker placed 10th with a 581 total.

    Leighton Dempster paced the Tigers and finished fourth overall with a 592 mark.

    Koenders shot a season-high smallbore score of 583 and finished second overall, and Osborn placed third with a 580 total. Babic and Eddy tied for fourth place with 579 scores, also a career-best mark for Eddy.

    “Jared showed a lot of growth today,” Hammond noted. “As it is with freshmen, he listens to everything we give him and the advice we tell him. He’s working really hard every day. He’s picking things up fast, and he’s had a few good weeks of practice. Today was a solid day for him – shooting two personal bests in a range he’s never shot in before – and it’s very promising. We’ll wait to see how he continues to improve.”

    Anti shot a season-best 577 and finished in seventh place, and Barker tallied 556.

    Levi Clark shot a team-best 579 for the Tigers and finished tied for fourth place.

    Five Mountaineers combined for the team scores: Anti, Babic, Koenders, Osborn and Thrasher.

    With the win, WVU improves to 13-2 all-time against the Tigers.

    The Mountaineers stay in Morgantown for a historical weekend of matches, as the team will play host to five squads at the Bill McKenzie Rifle Range inside the WVU Coliseum. WVU shoots against No. 4 Murray State and Ohio State on Saturday, Oct. 20, at 2 p.m., and No. 5 Air Force and Nebraska on Sunday, Oct. 21, at 9 a.m. Both matches are free and open to the public.

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