Collegiate Rifle: Great America Rifle Conference Championship Lands Akron In No. 5 Slot

Akron rifle wrapped up its record-breaking season with a fifth-place finish at the 2023 GARC Championship last month on the road at WVU in Morgantown, W.V.

by
posted on March 1, 2023
AKRON 2023 GARC At WVU 1
Newt Engle

The Akron rifle team closed a record-breaking season last month with a fifth-place finish at the 2023 Great America Rifle Conference Championship, held February 25-26 at West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia.

In a season of one close match after another, the 2023 Great America Rifle Conference (GARC) Championship was no exception, with eight teams competing, including Akron. Throughout the entire championship, many ties were posted, or results with only a point or two separating individuals and teams.

Akron rifle team
The Great American Rifle Conference is one of the toughest rifle conferences in the country. Akron Head Coach Newt Engle said: “Finishing fifth is quite admirable. But is it what we wanted—no. Is it what we expected—no. The reason is we know we are better than that and we will not be satisfied with simply being average.” (Photo by Newt Engle)

 

At the end of the match, Akron’s aggregate score of 4694 was only four points behind fourth-place Navy, and just ahead of sixth-place Memphis. Thus, Akron rifle was sandwiched between the two teams at No. 5 in the 2023 GARC Championship aggregate leaderboard.

The top individual shooter at the 2023 GARC Championship was Navy’s Parker Haydin, who walked away from the match with an aggregate score of 1186. In smallbore, N.C. State’s Ben Salas had the high individual score with 590. On the air rifle side, WVU shooter Mary Tucker fired a 599 score for the top individual title. In addition, both Salas and Tucker landed in the top five in the individual aggregate leaderboard.

The following schools competed at the 2023 Great America Rifle Conference Championship (listed in order of team aggregate score).

  1. West Virginia University, 4722
  2. Ole Miss, 4715
  3. Kentucky, 4714
  4. Navy, 4698
  5. Akron, 4694
  6. Memphis, 4689
  7. North Carolina State, 4682
  8. Army, 4634
Akron rifle at WVU Coliseum
The Akron rifle team at the WVU Coliseum in Morgantown, West Virginia.

 

The good news for Akron rifle is that nearly everyone will be returning next season, along with a plethora of new talent. This will be needed, due to the fact the team is saying goodbye to one of our rock-solid performers. Fifth-year senior Andre Gross will be leaving the program. Although he will be sticking around to finish his second degree, his presence on the ranges will be missed. This is evident by the fact at this championship—and his last collegiate match—Gross led the team, with 586 out of the possible 600 in smallbore. What a way to finish a collegiate career. With six other Akron Zips hotshots also in the 580s, Gross will be missed, but the team is ready to pick up where he is leaving off.

This team has broken nearly every record and has taken Akron rifle to levels we have never achieved. Akron’s Assistant Coach, Connor O’Mara—recently named 2023 GARC assistant coach of the year—summed up the season quite well at our end-of-the-season meeting. “In this room right now, is the best team we have ever had,” he said.

You can view the complete 2023 Great America Rifle Conference Championship scorecard at the NCAA website.

Additionally, Akron will be hosting the 2023 NCAA Rifle Championship on March 10-11. The tournament will be conducted in the University of Akron’s James A. Rhodes basketball arena. You can buy tickets for the 2023 NCAA Rifle Championship here.

Learn more about the Akron rifle team at gozips.com/sports/rifle.

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