MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia University rifle coach Jon Hammond has announced the signing of Mary Tucker to a grant-in-aid for the 2022-23 academic year.
A native of Sarasota, Florida, Tucker comes to WVU after spending her first three seasons at Kentucky, where she helped the Wildcats win a pair of NCAA National Championships in 2021 and 2022. She also led UK to three consecutive Great American Rifle Conference (GARC) regular-season titles (2020-22) and two GARC Championship crowns in 2020 and 2022.
Tucker also owns a trio of NCAA Individual National Championships, capturing the crown in all three categories at the 2021 NCAA Rifle Championships. Moreover, Tucker qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics for Team USA in women’s air rifle and smallbore and went on to win a silver medal in the mixed team air rifle event. She will have two years of eligibility remaining.
“Any time you have the opportunity to bring a world-class athlete and Olympic medalist onto a team, you have to jump at that,” Hammond said. “Mary has had a lot of success already, and I know she will continue to do so. She brings her experience and ability to our team, but even more so, her determination and competitive mindset is something that will really enhance our team. Most importantly, I hope we can provide an environment for her to be happy and flourish for her final two years of eligibility.”
In 2021-22, Tucker finished the season with averages of 590.182 in smallbore, 597 in air rifle and 1187.182 in aggregate score, all which ranked second in the nation. In smallbore, she shot 590 or better eight times in 13 matches, including a season-high 594 twice.
In air rifle, she tallied a 598 or better in nine matches a season ago. Additionally, she registered a perfect score of 600 in the discipline for the second time in her career against NC State on Jan. 16. Overall, Tucker showed an aggregate score of 1190 or better in six matches during her junior campaign.
Tucker was named to the All-GARC First Team in smallbore, air rifle and combined score prior to the conference championships. At season’s end, she also was named to the Collegiate Rifle Coaches Association (CRCA) All-America First Team for aggregate score, smallbore and air rifle.
Tucker also competed at the Junior Pan-American Games during the 2021-22 campaign, where she took home a pair of gold medals in the women’s 10-meter air rifle and mixed team events.
As a sophomore in 2020-21, Tucker averaged 592.417 in smallbore, 597.75 in air rifle and an aggregate score of 1190.167. Additionally, she set career highs in both smallbore and air rifle during the season, with a 597 in smallbore in the NCAA Qualifier and a 600 in air rifle in the Kentucky Long Rifle Match. Of note, her career-high smallbore mark of 597 tied the NCAA record.
Tucker was one of three shooters nationally to record a perfect 600 in air rifle in 2020-21, and posted two aggregate scores of 1195 or better, which also tied the NCAA record. Moreover, Tucker was the only shooter in the nation that year with two 595-plus smallbore scores. She also scored 1191 or higher six times during the 2020-21 campaign, while the rest of the NCAA totaled six.
Tucker wrapped up her historic 2020-21 campaign by being named the CRCA and GARC Athlete of the Year, after she brought home the NCAA Individual National Championship in smallbore, air rifle and aggregate score. She also was named to the All-GARC First Team in smallbore, air rifle and combined score. Finally, Tucker was selected to the CRCA All-America First Team in smallbore, air rifle and aggregate score to conclude her sophomore season.
As a freshman in 2019-20, Tucker was one of three shooters in the NCAA to post a smallbore score of 593 or better, while she also had the top score in the discipline at 595. She also was one of four in the NCAA to score a 599 or better in air rifle in 2019-20, doing so four times. Tucker earned seven of the nine NCAA aggregate scores of 1190 or above nationally as a freshman.
At the 2019-20 GARC Championships, Tucker took home the gold medal in aggregate score, the silver medal in smallbore and the bronze medal in air rifle. Prior to the 2019-20 championships, she was named to the All-GARC First Team in smallbore, air rifle and combined score, while also bringing home the GARC Rookie and Shooter of the Year awards.
Following her freshman season, Tucker was selected to the CRCA All-America First Team for overall score and was named the CRCA Rookie and Shooter of the Year. She also was selected to the Collegiate All-America First Team for smallbore, air rifle and combined score.
In the International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF) circuit, Tucker captured the gold medal in the women’s 10-meter air rifle event at the ISSF World Cup in March 2021. At the 2021 ISSF Junior World Championships, she claimed the gold medal in the air rifle mixed team event, the silver medal in the women’s 10-meter air rifle event and the bronze medal in the 50-meter rifle three positions event.