WVU’s Gavin Barnick Wins 2024 NCAA Air Rifle Individual Championship

Gavin Barnick of West Virginia University secures 2024 NCAA air rifle title with score of 251.7 after a triumphant performance in the final.

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posted on March 12, 2024
Barnick NCAA Airrifle 2
With a score of 251.7, West Virginia University rifle team shooter Gavin Barnick clinched the 2024 NCAA air rifle individual title. The match was held at the WVU Coliseum in Morgantown, W.Va., March 8-9.
John Parker

West Virginia University rifle team shooter Gavin Barnick bested a talented field of competitors to win the 2024 NCAA air rifle individual championship on Saturday, March 9, for his first collegiate rifle title, walking away from the final with a score of 251.7 to beat the runner-up, Braden Peiser of Kentucky, by 0.5 points.

The 2024 NCAA rifle championship, hosted by West Virginia University, was held at the WVU Coliseum in Morgantown, West Virginia, March 8-9.

Air rifle top three
The top three air rifle shooters at the 2024 NCAA championship awards ceremony (l.-r.): second place Braden Peiser of Kentucky (251.2), winner Gavin Barnick of WVU (251.7) and third place Mary Tucker of WVU (228.5).

 

Barnick, a junior at WVU, traded the top spot in the air rifle final with Peiser several times after taking an early lead. Prior to the final, Barnick was ranked fourth with a score of 598-49X in qualification. His victory is the first NCAA air rifle individual championship for WVU since 2017.

Finishing in second place was Braden Peiser of Kentucky with a score of 251.2. Barnick’s WVU teammate, senior Mary Tucker, was third with 228.5. Tucker won the NCAA smallbore rifle individual championship on Friday, March 8, giving WVU both individual discipline titles this year. According to wvusports.com, this is the first time two WVU shooters have secured both individual titles in seven years.

Gavin Barnick
Gavin Barnick on the firing line during the air rifle final.

 

Before the final, in the air rifle relay Barnick fired perfect 100 scores in the first four series of standing, dropping one point each in the final two series to end up with his 598-40X qualification score. At the NCAA rifle championships, air rifle is shot at 10 meters with 60 shots in a one hour and 15 minute relay. Shooters are split up into two relays. For air rifle, each competitor only shoots in the standing position.

The eight shooters that qualified for the air rifle final were Barnick and Peiser, Mary Tucker of WVU, Katie Zaun, Mikole Hogan and Stephanie Grundsøe of Texas Christian University, Peninah D’Souza of Air Force and Elijah Spencer of Alaska-Fairbanks.

Air rifle finalists
The top eight air rifle competitors gathered in front of the firing line prior to the start of the final.

 

In the final, Barnick took an early lead after the first five shots with a score of 53. He dropped to fifth place after the next five shots. However, Barnick was able to bounce back, leaping to third place and then second, behind Peiser. Barnick would stay in second place until the 22nd shot, when he jumped to number one with a score of 222, tied with Peiser. After the other shooters were eliminated, it came down to a duel between Peiser and Barnick. For his last shot, Barnick fired a 10.6 over Peiser’s 10.5 to clinch the air rifle individual title.

As for the NCAA air rifle team championship, Texas Christian University topped the leaderboard with a score of 2385-200X, followed by the University of Alaska-Fairbanks with 2382-193X. Finishing in third place was Kentucky with a score of 2380-191X. Host school WVU was in fourth place with 2376-190X, buoyed by strong performances from Barnick and Tucker.

Firing line
The air rifle final was thrilling to say the least. Barnick secured an early lead, dropping to second place more than once while trading places in the top spot with Kentucky’s Braden Peiser.

 

You can see the full scorecard of the 2024 NCAA rifle championship at the NCAA website. Be on the lookout for a full match report in a future issue of the digital magazine. Subscribe for free here.

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