No. 1 WVU back in action this weekend vs. Nebraska
Published: Friday, January 18, 2013
Updated: Friday, January 18, 2013 01:01
After a break from competition that started during Thanksgiving, the No. 1 West Virginia rifle team will compete in its first match of 2013 Saturday when the Mountaineers welcome Nebraska to Morgantown.
"We had a week or two of training after Thanksgiving break, and then we came back last week to get some training in before school started," said head coach Jon Hammond. "Some of them continued to train over the break, but a lot of them got a good three or four weeks off."
Hammond encouraged his Mountaineer squad to break from the mentally draining sport during the winter holiday.
"It is a very mental sport, and you can get tired of it like anything else," Hammond said. "Fall semester is a long semester for all students, especially if you’re an athlete.
"They all needed a break over the holidays. Holidays are great to kind of let them recharge and let them have a break."
Despite the time off, Hammond knows his top-ranked team is ready to adjust its sights and get back in the range.
"We’ll probably need a few more weeks to get to our peak and prepare," Hammond said. "I think they’re certainly in good form and ready to get back into competition."
Before their break, the Mountaineers were on a roll. They fired away all of the competition, consistently scoring at or around an unbelievable benchmark of 4,700. The Mountaineers also blasted away fellow GARC foes Army, Ole Miss, Memphis and North Carolina State, as well as capping 2012 off with a trip to rifle powerhouse Alaska-Fairbanks.
Hammond will look for the Mountaineers to build upon the momentum they gained in the first half of the season.
"We definitely want to continue to have good performances, and hopefully we’ll continue to work towards that," Hammond said. "It’s definitely important to have momentum and have that confidence when you get into the end of the season."
West Virginia will need to find that momentum quickly with only two matches left before NCAA qualifiers. After qualifiers, West Virginia will head to the GARC championships, before ending the season in Columbus, Ohio, at the NCAA championships.
Hammond, however, does not have his team concentrating on anything other than the match in front of them.
"Every competition is as important as the next one," he said. "We’re just really getting ready for this weekend and Nebraska and focusing on that, and then we’ll focus on each competition as it comes up."
And against Nebraska, Hammond wants to see how ready the team is after the long break.
"I definitely want to see some strong performances off the break," he said. "(I am) really just looking for them to continue the things we were working on last semester and see if we can have a good result."