Special thanks to Newt Engle, head coach of the University of Akron rifle team for this collegiate rifle update. The Akron Zips triumphed over the U.S. Military Academy at West Point rifle team on Nov. 15 in Ohio.
With many matches earlier this season canceled due to COVID-19, Akron rifle coach Newt Engle and Army coach Webster Wright saw an opportunity to add one match on the schedule before the conclusion of the first half of the rifle season. A range familiar to both teams, the Palmyra Sportsmen’s Association agreed to host the Army–Akron face-off.
No. 7-ranked Army came to the match confident, but the undaunted No. 9-ranked Akron Zips lived up to the team motto of “All gas, no brakes” as they bested the Army team 4675 to 4663.
Akron senior Wyatt Openshaw and junior Andre Gross hovered near the top of the leaderboard, as they pounded the center of both smallbore and air rifle targets. Openshaw dazzled the coaches by tying the Akron team air rifle record at 595 out of 600 possible points. A truly Olympic-level performance.
As for Army, senior Kaitlyn Kutz had the top smallbore score with 583. Army's top air rifle shooter was junior Lauren McMahan with 592, good for third place in the invidivual standings.
More impressive performances came from two Akron freshmen, Samantha Shultz and Kayla Andreoli. Shultz established a new personal best air rifle score of 593, only 2 points behind Openshaw. Andreoli also set a new personal best of 590. Another freshman phenom, Gavin Perkowski assisted with a score of 589.
All of this tallied up to an Akron team score of 2365 in air rifle, only 2 points shy of the school record. In addition, we would be remiss not to mention sophomore Jakob Rankin and his new personal best mark of 575.
Akron's team score of 4675 is a season-high, and places the squad in a great place to start the second half of the season next January. Visit gozips.com/sports/rifle for the complete listing of Akron rifle stats and schedule. Learn more about the Army team here.