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West Virginia got off to an excellent start at the NCAA Rifle Championships on Friday, putting up four of the top 14 counting scores in the smallbore team finals to take a 17-point lead going into Saturday's air rifle relays.

West Virginia's Ziva Dvorsak was the top scorer in the smallbore team competition, tallying 588 points. Ohio State's Amanda Luoma was second, one point behind.

WVU's team strength showed in the top ten, as Garrett Spurgeon tied for fifth with a 585 score, while Thomas Kyanko was just one point behind. Mountaineer Meelis Kiisk was 14th with 581 points.

Those four shooters combined for a team score of 2338, which gave WVU a 17-point lead over second place Alaska (2321). Memphis was a somewhat surprising third at 2320, followed by Kentucky with 2316.

West Virginia hit a near-peak in its smallbore performance. Its 2338 points was its second best total of the year, topped only by a 2342 tally against N.C. State. The Mountaineers bested their smallbore average by a whopping 14 points. Through the year, the Mountaineers averaged 2324 in smallbore team competition.

Dvorsak came within one point of matching her season high of 589, while Spurgeon also exceeded his season average and came within two of his season high.

Kiisk continued the parade by bettering his season average by one, and Kyanko topped his season average by five.

Maren Prediger was West Virginia's fifth shooter, accounting for a 571 score. The smallbore individual finals are underway this evening.

The team Rifle competition begins Saturday at 9:00 a.m. Eastern.

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