West Virginia Leads After Day One of GARC Championships
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia got off to an excellent start on Day One of the 2018 Great American Rifle Conference (GARC) Championships on Saturday. The Mountaineers counted the scores of Morgan Phillips, Elizabeth Gratz, Ginny Thrasher and David Koenders to win the team smallbore with a score of 2333. Kentucky was second with an aggregate score of 2319, while Navy was another four points back at 2315. It was West Virginia’s third consecutive GARC team smallbore title.
In the second smallbore relay of the day, Phillips shot a 586, while Gratz followed with a 585. Sarah Osborn, elevated to replace Milica Babic, who is competing at the European Championships this weekend, recorded a 575. Thrasher (533) and Koenders (579) followed in the third relay to help build WVU’s lead and keep the Mountaineers comfortably in front. The teams will square off in air rifle on Sunday to determine team and individualk crowns in that discipline, as well as the overall GARC title.
The individual smallbore championship was a back and forth affair between Phillips and Gratz, who exchanged the lead multiple times after vaulting to the type in the third prone series of the day. They built big leads over the rest of the field, and Phillips looked to have a solid advantage with just a couple of shots to go as she held a one-point lead, but that got away as Thrasher rallied for the win by the final margin of 454.8-453.9.
A crowd of some 200 watched the competition, which ran from 7:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. Behind the top thre team finishers were N.C. State (4th-2308, Nebraska 5th-2306,, Army (6th-2293), Akron (7th-2292), Memphis (8th-2291) and Mississippi (9th-2289).
The air rifle discipline of the GARC Championships will begin on Sunday at 8:00 a.m. on the Bill McKenzie Rifle Range at the WVU Shell Building. Awards ceremonies will follow the team and individual competitions.