After shooting an air rifle score of 2365, the No. 2-seed West Virginia University rifle team finished in fifth place with a team score of 4708 at the 2023 NCAA Rifle Championships on Saturday afternoon, inside James A. Rhodes Arena in Akron, Ohio.
West Virginia’s 2365 in air rifle was the eighth-best score on the second day of the championships.
Finishing with a team score of 4729, No. 3-seed Alaska-Fairbanks was crowned the 2023 NCAA Champion, claiming its 11th title and first since 2008.
The Mountaineers were led by senior Mary Tucker in the air rifle relay, as she tallied a team-high 598 in the discipline and made the air rifle final. The Sarasota, Florida, native advanced to the gold medal shootout in the finals, but took second place, falling 17-9 to Rylann Kissell of Alaska-Fairbanks.
For the weekend, Tucker showed an aggregate score of 1190, which tied for the best mark in the championship field. She added a third-place finish in yesterday’s smallbore competition to crack the podium twice in as many days.
We’re disappointed with how the weekend finished; we know we can perform a lot better than what we did today,” WVU coach Jon Hammond said. “It’s not how we wanted to finish the season, but we have to learn from it and use it as motivation for next year. Mary had another top-quality match and another podium finish at the Championships which is incredibly impressive, and I’m proud of her toughness and how she competed this weekend.
We did a lot of good things this year and while this weekend is disappointing, we do have to take the positives from the season and come back stronger next year.”
Senior Malori Brown tallied WVU’s second-highest aggregate score of 1175 at the championship, which included a 586 in air rifle. Junior Molly McGhin scored an aggregate score of 1171, with a 588 in air rifle as senior Matt Sanchez totaled a 1169, with a 591 in air rifle.
Junior Tal Engler also finished with a combined total of 1167 and shot a 588 in air rifle to round out the second day of action for West Virginia.
TCU (4717) finished second, Kentucky (4713) third, Ole Miss (4713) fourth, Nebraska (4706) sixth, Air Force (4697) seventh and Murray State (4688) eighth.
WVU finishes the 2022-23 season with a 16-4 overall record and an 8-1 mark in the Great America Rifle Conference. The Mountaineers also claimed the program’s 15th GARC Tournament Championship.