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WVU rifle wins fourth straight GARC title

The WVU rifle team captured its fourth straight Great American Rifle Conference Championship Sunday.

West Virginia scored a two-day team total of 4705 to win the match at the University of Mississippi’s Patricia C. Lamar National Guard Readiness Center in Oxford, Miss.

The team shot a 2370 in air rifle on Sunday to claim first place after shooting a first-place 2335 in smallbore Saturday. This was WVU’s seventh GARC title and the first time a team ever won four in a row. WVU had three-peated three times.

“We got the job done today, and that’s the result we wanted, so I’m very happy for the team,” says seventh-year coach Jon Hammond. “Again, we left the range today knowing there are things we can still improve on, but overall this was a steady team performance. It’s nice for us to win four straight GARC titles, but right now, we’re focused on finishing the season strong. We’ll look back on the magnitude of this later, but really this weekend was just about completing a job. We’ll go back to the WVU Rifle Range tomorrow and continue to train for the 2013 NCAA Championships. There’s still one big job for us to finish.”

Senior Petra Zublasing and sophomore Maren Prediger finished second and third, respectively in air rifle with final scores of 700.5 and 699.7. The duo each shot a championship-best 597 in the open relay. Zublasing, the GARC Shooter and Senior of the Year, as well as the conference’s smallbore champion, tallied 103.5 in the final, while Prediger earned 102.7.

“The girls are both incredibly good air rifle shooters, and they both had solid matches today,” says Hammond. “They had their own struggles at certain points, but both are experienced and calm, and they dealt with their difficulties accordingly and produced excellent scores.”

Additionally, Mountaineer sophomore Meelis Kiisk also shot in today’s final and finished sixth overall with a 691.0 mark. Kiisk tallied 590 in the open relay and 101.0 in the final.

The No. 2-ranked Kentucky Wildcats finished second with a score of 4690. Seventh-ranked Nebraska was third at 4647, while Army and Ole Miss rounded out the top five.

The Mountaineers now focus on the 2013 NCAA Championships set for March 8-9 at Ohio State in Columbus.

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