Collegiate Rifle: Akron Finishes Third To Close GARC Season

Team Akron wraps up a record-setting season at 2024 Great America Rifle Conference Championships, held at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, N.Y., Feb. 24-25.

posted on February 28, 2024
Akron Feb28 2024 1
Although the Akron Zips rifle team concluded the 2023-24 GARC season in third place, at the 2024 GARC Championships, Akron rifle landed in sixth place. After a close contest, the four top squads were decided by less than 20 points—winner West Virginia University, runner-up Kentucky, third place Ole Miss and fourth place Memphis.
Newt Engle

The Great America Rifle Conference (GARC) held its 2024 Championships at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York, the weekend of February 24-25. Going into the match, the Akron Zips has already secured a regular season award for being ranked No. 3 in the conference. This is the second time in program history of achieving this rank in what is generally considered one of the toughest conferences in the nation. Separate from the regular season, Akron landed in the No. 6 slot in a fiercely fought battle at the championship match held this past weekend. When each team has a potential 4800 points and a match is decided by less than 20 points between four schools, that’s close—really close.

Akron rifle team
The Akron Zips rifle team walked away from the 2024 Great America Rifle Conference Championships in sixth place with an aggregate score of 4701 (air rifle 2367, smallbore 2334). (Photo by Newt Engle)


Since the Akron rifle team traveled in a charter bus, and Army has very large ranges, we managed to have the entire Akron team compete at this match. What a fitting end to the season for all, as well as our four graduating seniors. Many milestones were achieved at this match, as well as two of the seniors finishing their collegiate careers with the perfect last shot of 10.9. It does not get any better than that.

Akron’s smallbore score of 2334 showed a marked improvement over recent matches and was led by the efforts of senior Erin Schnupp and junior Lex Kirk, who each posted nice 584 scores. Hot on their heels was senior Gavin Perkowski and junior Rachel Engels with like 583s. All in all, a solid smallbore performance.

Akron rifle team, all dressed up
The entire Akron Zips rifle team is assembled here. Two Akron seniors at this year’s GARC Championships—Katie Paltz and Brendan Seitz—ended their collegiate careers with perfect last shots of 10.9. (Photo courtesy of Akron rifle)


Air rifle was highlighted by Perkowski and Kirk each posting very nice 594s, while Engels pushed out a 593. The last remaining Akron rifle team shooter in the 90s was senior Katie Paltz, who concluded her collegiate career with a new career high 590 and also finished with the elusive 10.9 score. It was quite a pleasure to see Katie peak at this match as the crowd in the hallway cheered for her success.

The top individual shooter at the match was Braden Peiser of Kentucky, who finished with an aggregate score of 1194 (air rifle 597, smallbore 597).

Samantha Shultz and smallbore .22 LR cartridge
Akron senior Samantha Shultz’s last collegiate shot was a 10. (Photo by Newt Engle)


For most of the Akron rifle team, the 2024 Great America Rifle Conference Championship marks the end of the 2023-2024 season. However, for one deserving Akron athlete—Gavin Perkowski—the ride is not over yet. Having qualified for one of the coveted individual slots, Perkowski will be traveling to West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia, to compete in the 2024 NCAA National Championships. He will take the field starting at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 9. Targets can be viewed live at this link.

Results: 2024 Great America Rifle Conference Championships at West Point, New York, February 24-25.

2024 GARC Championships scorecard
Screenshot courtesy of NCAA Rifle.


See the full match scorecard at the NCAA rifle website.

Learn more about the seven collegiate rifle teams that competed at the 2024 Great America Rifle Conference Championship: Akron, Army, WVU, Kentucky, Ole Miss, Memphis and Navy.


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