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West Virginia Sweeps Air Rifle Podium, Claims Third-Straight NCAA Title

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (March 15, 2015)

The NCAA Rifle Championships wrapped Saturday evening with the top-ranked West Virginia Mountaineer rifle team claiming their third-straight and nation best 17th National Champion title with a score of 4702 at the Patty Center in Alaska, Fairbanks. 

National Championships host Alaska Fairbanks – though winning the Smallbore competition on Day 1 – would finish in second place with a score of 4700. Third place overall would go to Texas Christian University (TCU) who finished with a score of 4667. Though they tied Nebraska in points, TCU would win the tie-breaker of center-ten shots by 13 points. 

The following Day 2 recap and photo is by National Development Team member and Alaska Fairbanks Alum Mike Liuzza:

The second day of the 2015 NCAA Rifle Championships can be summed up by one word - Mountaineers. The shooters from West Virginia dominated the top of the leaderboard in the Air Rifle competition, taking all three podium spots. 

Following the Final, Maren Prediger sealed her fate as NCAA Champion, shooting nearly five points over her teammates Michael Bamsey who had just edged out National Junior Team member Garrett Spurgeon (Canton, Missouri) in the Finals. Spurgeon also won the NCAA Rifle Championships’ inaugural Top Performer award for his two-day total of 1179 points. 

Last year’s Air Rifle National Champion and National Team member Connor Davis (Shelbyville, Kentucky) did not qualify for the individual Finals this year. 

Entering the second day of competition, the Mountaineers sat 12 points behind then first-place Alaska Fairbanks. Prediger helped boost the teams score with a 598, helping put her team just three points behind Alaska Fairbanks. Prediger and teammate Bamsey of took nine points out of the 12-point deficit to the home-ranged Nanooks.

After the second relay, the deficit was down to two points as Thomas Kyanko fired a 590 to Alaska Fairbanks Nanook and National Junior Team member Lorelie Stanfield’s 589. After the third relay, despite a 596 from her teammate and National Team member Tim Sherry (Highlands Ranch, Colorado), the Mountaineers had erased the first day’s deficit and secured their place as victors by two points over the Nanooks with a final combined team aggregate of a 4702 over Alaska’s 4700.  It was safe to say that West Virginia, only dropping 17 points amongst their four counting shooters, was eager to go into the Air Rifle match following the Smallbore loss to Alaska Fairbanks.

“We just had to treat this as another day,” said Jon Hammond, head coach for West Virginia.  “You obviously prefer to have an advantage. We talked yesterday and we just had to shoot our match. We can’t control the opposition and we had to shoot for ourselves. I have a lot of trust in these guys they have been a solid Air Rifle team the whole year so we didn’t put a lot of pressure on ourselves.”

View video of Prediger's win here.

View the complete individual Air Rifle results here.

Check out more coverage of the NCAA Rifle Championships by Liuzza by following us FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Team Results

1. West Virginia: 4702

2. Alaska Fairbanks: 4700

3. TCU: 4667

4. Nebraska: 4667

5. Jacksonville State: 4664

6. Kentucky: 4657

7. Air Force: 4642

8. Murray State: 4637 

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National Shooting Sports Foundation