A member of the WVU rifle team takes aim against Akron on Nov. 16, 2019.

A member of the WVU rifle team takes aim against Akron on Nov. 16, 2019.

After a season cut short due to COVID-19, the No. 1 West Virginia rifle team opened the 2021 season with 4715-4655 a win against No. 10 Akron. The Mountaineers swept the Zips in both disciplines, winning both the smallbore (2333-2307) and the air rifle (2382-2385). 

“I'm pleased with the performance of the team today," West Virginia head coach Jon Hammond said. "For most of our athletes, it was a new range to shoot on and for everyone, the first college match for a long time. There were a lot of positives and encouraging performances."

Freshman Molly McGhin took first place in her Mountaineer debut with a combined score of 1180 followed by sophomore Calista Smoyer with a score of 1178. Seven other Mountaineers finished in the top 10 in the smallbore and air rifle standings. 

McGhin also took second place in the smallbore with a 585 mark (196 kneeling, 197 prone, 192 standing) followed by junior Jared Eddy with a 583 mark (196 kneeling, 197 prone, 190 standing) while freshman Tal Engler finished first in the smallbore with a 586 mark (195 kneeling, 200 prone, 191 standing).

"It's very good to see the freshman perform well in their first college match," Hammond said. "We had three different freshmen lead the team in air rifle, smallbore and combined."

Freshman Becca Lamb placed sixth in her debut with a 582 mark (190 kneeling, 199 prone, 193 standing). Junior Verena Zaisberger finished in the top-5 in the smallbore with a total of 583. 

Smoyer finished eighth (581) and senior Sarah Osborn finished tenth with a 577 mark to round out the Mountaineers top ten finishers. Smoyer also finished second in air rifle with a total of 597 (99-100-99-100-99-100). Following Smoyer was McGhin (99-100-100-99-99-98), Lamb (99-100-100-98-99-99) and Osborn (100-98-99-99-100-99). All three marked 595 and tied for third. 

Other smallbore marks include a 576 for Malori Brown, who placed 11th and and a 596 for Sanchez who placed 18th. 

Eddy finished seventh on the team marking a 594 in the air rifle followed by Zaisberger in eighth marking 591 rounding out the top ten finishers for the Mountaineers in the air rifle. Additionally, Brown marked a 582 and Engler marked 581, good enough for 13th and 16th place.

With this victory the Mountaineers move to 19-0 all-time against the Zips. The next event for the Mountaineers will be their home opener against Ohio State on Jan. 23 at the WVU Rifle Range in Morgantown.