West Virginia Earns Top Qualification Score For NCAA Rifle National Championships

On the strength of the best NCAA qualifying score, West Virginia snared the top spot in the NCAA National Rifle Championship.

Entering the weekend of NCAA qualifying, the Mountaineers were ranked #2, based on an average of their three best scores at three different venues during the season. They trailed TCU by a slim margin, but more than made that on qualifying weekend, when they posted a score of 4724, which bested the Horned Frogs' mark of 4708 by 16. That gave WVU a total qualifying score of 9449, more than 14 points better than TCU's 9434.67.

Murray State (9419), Air Force (9402.67) , Alaska Fairbanks (9395), Kentucky (9371.67), Ohio State (9367)  and Nebraska (9345.33) round out the team field.

The top eight teams in both the smallbore three-position and air rifle events were selected based on the average of the three highest regular-season aggregate scores with no more than one match at any given site. The average of the three highest scores was added to the aggregate scores from the designated qualifiers to determine the top eight teams.

A total of 48 competitors will compete in the championships, with 40 competitors coming from the top eight teams selected. The remaining eight competitors were selected based on the scores submitted from the designated qualifier, and will compete for the individual titles, They include Makennon Doran, University of Memphis, Brandon Muske, Jacksonville State University,  Amy Fister, University of Memphis and David Sink, Jacksonville State University in smallbore. Lucas Kozeniesky, North Carolina State University
Caitlyn Ford, North Carolina State University,  Nathan Brewer, U.S. Military Academy andAli Weisz, University of Mississippi will compete in air rifle.

Individual and team competitions in smallbore three-position (60 shots) will be held Friday, March 10, and individual and team competitions in air rifle (60 shots) will be held Saturday, March 11. The overall team champion will be determined by combining the smallbore and air rifle team total scores into one aggregate score for each institution.

The National Championships take place at French Field House on the campus of Ohio State on Mar. 10-11.

Olympic Gold medalist Ginny Thrasher holds WVU's top five smallbore marks this year, with a best of 595. Elizabeth Gratz (590) Will Anti ( 590), Milica Babic (589) and Jean-Pierre Lucas (588) are West Virginia's other top performers in the Day One discipline. Gratz hold's WVU's best air rifle score of the season with a perfect 600. She's joined by Babic (599), Thrasher (599) and Pierre-Lucas (595) and Anti (591) in air rifle top scores.

Thrasher also holds the top four and six of the top eight aggregate national scores of the season.

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