The No. 5 West Virginia rifle team will compete against GARC opponent No. 9 Army (2-1, 1-1 GARC) Saturday at the WVU rifle range.
Mountaineers head coach Jon Hammond said he knows Army has posted very strong smallbore scores in the past.
“Army is (a) pretty balanced team. I think they’ve probably been a little bit stronger in smallbore over the last few years, but they’ve had some great smallbore shooters,” he said.
WVU beat Army in the 2012 season in smallbore, after junior Thomas Kyanko and former Mountaineer Petra Zublasing shot a 591 to seal the win at 2348-2303.
WVU also won the air rifle portion of the match beating Army 2361-2328 last season in West Point, N.Y.
The Mountaineers shot a school record of 4709, defeating Army 4709-4631. The record would eventually be broken again later in the semester.
Hammond said he doesn’t want the results in smallbore from 2012’s match against Army to distract the Mountaineers Saturday.
“We just had a really great match (in 2012). That was Thomas’s best match so far in his career, and I think Garrett (Spurgeon) shot pretty high,” he said. “I think we shot one of the highest smallbore scores ever last year. I wouldn’t expect Army to be able to beat that kind of score even if they are better in that particular gun.”
Army lost two shooters last season, but still has an experienced squad. Seniors Richard Calvin, Michael Matthews and Joseph Todero were named All-Americans by the National Rifle Association last season.
“This year they lost a very good senior shooter (William Mengon). So I think they are relying a lot on younger talent this season,” Hammond said.
The Mountaineers’ last match was two weeks ago against Nebraska, earning their first GARC win of the season. Despite the smallbore loss, WVU earned a victory against the Huskers, beating them 4656-4650.
The Mountaineers beat the Huskers 2349-2335 in air rifle after junior Meelis Kiisk finished with a 593 score in the discipline.
The Huskers individual shooters Denise Martin (581), Lauren Phillips (580) and Rachel Martin (578) placed No. 2 through No. 4 in smallbore and earned the victory.
Sophomore Garrett Spurgeon was the top shooter for the Mountaineers in Nebraska, earning No. 1 overall in smallbore with a score of 584 and placed No. 2 in air rifle with a 590.
Army is coming off a win against Coast Guard in its only home match of the 2013 fall season. Hammond said he knows this team has experience playing on the road and is expecting a tough match Saturday.
“We are in the same conference, so we see these guys every year in conference play and conference championships,” he said. “I think they are going to come in here and give us a tough match this weekend.”
The match will begin at 8 a.m. and will last until the afternoon Saturday.