MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The West Virginia University Rifle Team now holds exactly half of the NCAA titles ever awarded. The squad finished first on Saturday at the NCAA Championship match in Akron, Ohio. The victory marked their 4th straight national title and their 18th overall.
“I know it started in 1980 and I was reading that 18 out of the 36 championships have been held,” said Coach Jon Hammond on MetroNews Talkline.
The Mountaineers swept first place in every category that was available. Freshman shooter Ginny Thrasher won the individual titles in both air rifle and smallbore. She’s the first shooter to do that since WVU’s Petra Zublasing won both in 2013. She’s also only the third shooter in the history of the sport to claim both tiles in the same match. WVU also won both disciplines of the competition first place in air rifle and smallbore en route to the overall team championship.
“She obviously has a really good ability, but what separates her is her ability to listen to everything that was given to her,” said Hammond of Thrasher’s rookies season. “She’s basically very coachable and has the work ethic and drive.”
The Mountaineers will celebrate their championship with an open house at the WVU Coliseum this afternoon at 4 p.m. The team will welcome fans and pose for pictures and autographs.
“I hope it’s a huge source of price,” Hammond said. “I certainly get a lot of e-mails and text messages from people and it’s that kind of sport that has a connection with the whole state. Our mascot carries a rifle.”
The Rifle Team is the only sports team at WVU to ever win a national championship.