NCAA Rifle Championship: West Virginia Seeking Sixth Straight Win

by
posted on March 8, 2018
ncaa1.jpg (1)

The No.1 ranked West Virginia University (WVU) rifle team will compete for a sixth straight NCAA Championship at the 2018 NCAA Rifle Championships, held at the Citadel’s McAlister Field House in Charleston, SC. A victory this year would be number 20 for the Mountaineers.

Competing will be senior Elizabeth Gratz, junior Ginny Thrasher (2016 NCAA smallbore and air rifle champion) sophomores Morgan Phillips and Milica Babic (the reigning NCAA smallbore and air rifle champions, respectively), and redshirt-freshman David Koenders.

“We feel great about the team we’re taking to the championships,” said WVU rifle coach Jon Hammond. “They’ve had an excellent season—a record-breaking season—and we’ve had great team chemistry throughout the year. This is one of the strongest groups of five we’ve taken to the NCAA Championships.”

Since Hammond’s arrival in 2006, the Mountaineers have won six national titles, including his first in 2009. A championship win this weekend would make WVU the first team in the sport’s history to win six straight titles twice. Previously, WVU achieved the feat from 1988-1993. Alaska-Fairbanks also won six straight titles from 1999-2004.

“A successful weekend for us would be going to the championship and having great performances,” said Hammond. “Naturally, you want to win the championship. We’re very conscious of the fact that we don’t control that. We have to set our own expectations, which are to perform to the best of our abilities and to enjoy the experience. We want to do our best.”

WVU has set three NCAA rifle records this season: a team aggregate record of 4742 during a victory at Murray State (4703) last November. WVU also shot an NCAA-record 2356 smallbore score the same day. And, only a month earlier, WVU had shot another NCAA-record breaking score of 2392 in air rifle against Mississippi.

Thrasher, an Olympic gold medalist and the 2018 Great America Rifle Conference air rifle and smallbore champion, leads the team with season averages of 586.3 smallbore and 596.6 air rifle. Phillips follows in smallbore with a 585.8 average, and Babic is second in air rifle with a 596.2 average.

WVU won last year’s NCAA championship at Ohio State University’s French Field House with a record-breaking score of 4723. Additionally WVU swept the team titles, shooting 2336 for smallbore and a season-high 2387 in air rifle. Two then-freshman claimed both of the individual titles—Babic with 208.1 in the air rifle final and Phillips with 464.3 in the smallbore final. Phillips also finished second in air rifle, and was named the NCAA Championships’ Top Performer.

“Morgan and Milica will have a lot of outside expectations placed on them, but they need to focus on themselves and their own expectations,” said Hammond. “I want them to relax, enjoy the competition and trust what they’ve been doing.”

Last month, the WVU rifle team won their ninth straight GARC Championship. WVU tallied scores of 2366 and 2333 for air rifle and smallbore, respectively.

Lead photo by WVU Athletic Communications

Latest

Uspsamagazine 2024 1
Uspsamagazine 2024 1

Guide To Writing Better Practical Shooting Competition Articles

Do you want to write articles about competitive shooting sports like USPSA and Steel Challenge? Here are some tips to help you get published.

ISSF Lonato World Cup: Dania Vizzi Secures Women’s Skeet Silver Medal

Team USA shooter Dania Vizzi lands Women’s Skeet silver medal, with teammate Austen Smith claiming bronze at the 2024 ISSF Lonato World Cup, held in Lonato, Italy, Jun. 10-19, 2024.

Team Berger’s James Fox Wins Third Consecutive Washington State High Power Rifle Championship

James Fox makes it a three-peat after claiming victory at the 2024 Washington State High Power Rifle Championship in Puyallup, Wash., Jun. 1-2.

Review: XS Sights Fiber-Optic Sights For Glock Pistols

The new Glock fiber-optic sight kit from XS Sights has a wide rear notch and perfectly sized front sight with a green (or red) fiber-optic insert that’s easy to see, even in bright sunlight.

New: Federal Field & Range Gun Cases

Federal’s new Field & Range soft gun cases are now available for purchase.

NRA President Bob Barr To Speak At 2024 Daisy BB Gun Nationals Opening Ceremony

NRA President Bob Barr will be a special guest speaker at the opening ceremony of the 2024 Daisy BB Gun Nationals in Rogers, Ark., Jun. 30-Jul. 3.

Interests



Get the best of Shooting Sports USA delivered to your inbox.