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TCU Wins 2019 NCAA Rifle Championship

TCU Wins 2019 NCAA Rifle Championship

After a thrilling two-day competition, the Texas Christian University Horned Frogs (TCU) bring home the NCAA rifle championship trophy with a final score of 4699-298X.

In second place was host school West Virginia University (WVU) with 4692-284X and in third was the Air Force Academy with 4687-197X.

TCU wins 2019 NCAA rifle championship
The TCU rifle team triumphantly poses with the 2019 NCAA rifle championship trophy.

This is the third NCAA rifle championship for TCU, previously winning in 2010 and 2012.

"I'm so proud of this team and all they have accomplished. They put in the hard work and deserve this win," said Coach Karen Monez.

TCU Rifle Coach Karen Monez receives shower of gold ribbon
Instead of Gatorade, Coach Karen Monez of TCU was dunked with what was available, which in this case was confetti and streamers.

Anchored by star shooters Elizabeth Marsh and Kristen Hemphill, the TCU rifle team was on firesetting the pace for the duration of the match. TCU and WVU were tied at 2331 after smallbore on day one, with TCU winning the tie-breaker via X-count 127-112.

TCU was the runner-up in the team air rifle championship on day two, once again facing a tie but with a different school this time: the Air Force Academy at 2368. Match officials looked to the X-count, which gave Air Force the advantage 181-171.

Individual performances anchor TCU victory
Marsh, a sophomore, won the individual smallbore championship on day one with an impressive performance leading into the final, including a perfect prone score. She would go on to win the smallbore final with a score of 456.9.

2019 NCAA smallbore top 3 shooters
From l. to r.: Smallbore runner-up Andre Gross of Akron, winner Elizabeth Marsh and third place David Koenders of WVU.

Hemphill mimicked Marsh's performance during day two's air rifle final in the face of tough competition. The qualification round included a record-breaking score from Rosemary Kramer of Georgia Southern University, who fired a near-perfect 599-50X. Hemphill's qualification score was 593-44X.

Kristen Hemphill, Texas Christian Univ.
TCU's Kristen Hemphill.

The battle for the individual air rifle championship was a showdown featuring Hemphill, fellow TCU freshman Angeline Henry (who was ahead of Hemphill in qualification by one X)  and the aforementioned record-breaking Rosemary Kramer. After some admirable shooting, Kramer was eliminated to third palce with a score of 226.2.

Rosemary Kramer, Georgia Southern Univ.
Rosemary Kramer, a senior at Georgia Southern University, set a new NCAA air rifle championship record, breaking the previous record set in 2013 by WVU's Petra Zublasing.

As the last two shooters standing, the pair from TCU would swap the top spot several times over the next six rounds of the final. It all came down to the final two shots, but Hemphill managed to outduel Henry to become the 2019 individual air rifle champion by the slimmest of margins 248.2-247.9.

Angeline Henry, TCU Rifle Team, 2019 NCAA air rifle championship
TCU's Angeline Henry finished the air rifle final with a score of 247.9.

See the full results of the 2019 NCAA rifle championships here.

Collegiate career finale for Thrasher

The 2019 NCAA rifle championships also marked the end of Ginny Thrasher's WVU rifle team career after an impressive four years. The senior first made her mark as a freshman, winning a gold medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics and the 2016 NCAA air rifle and smallbore individual championships.

"Ginnywe've said it many times beforeyou don't have that caliber of a person come through a program too often," said WVU Coach Jon Hammond. "She's accomplished an amazing amount in her four years."

About NCAA Rifle

For this championship the NCAA invites the eight top-ranked schools, who send five-person teams. In addition, the top four air rifle and top four smallbore rifle individuals are invited, for a total of 48 shooters representing the elite of collegiate rifle competition.

2019 NCAA rifle championship at West Virginia University
WVU placed a large video scoreboard stage center, which made it very easy to see the current scores, and also made the finals on both days much more thrilling.

This year's event was the first to be ever fired at WVU, who notably has the most-ever NCAA rifle championship wins. The atmosphere was jovial with a record-setting crowd of 2,215 fans over the course of the two-day matcheasily doubling the previous record of 919 set at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks in 2007.

WVU coliseum hosts NCAA rifle championship
The WVU coliseum proved to be an excellent venue for the two-day match.

Competitors were using the school's new Bill McKenzie Mobile Rifle Range, a set of firing points using the Megalink electronic target system. The mobile range was set up in the WVU Coliseum, which as a more impressive venue certainly contributed to the increase in attendance.

A full match report, including the 2019 NRA All-Americans, will be published in a future issue of the digital magazine.

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