A West Virginia Mountaineer competes in the air rifle competition in West Virginia's quad-match versus Akron, Ole Miss and Navy on Jan. 30, 2021.

A West Virginia Mountaineer competes in the air rifle competition in West Virginia's quad-match versus Akron, Ole Miss and Navy on Jan. 30, 2021. 

The No. 4 West Virginia University rifle team won the Great American Rifle Conference Championship with a total score of 4727 in a virtual match in Morgantown over the weekend. 

The Mountaineers started out the weekend by shooting 2346 in smallbore on Saturday to put them in first place heading into Sunday’s air rifle event. The Mountaineers then kept up the good shooting, as they shot 2381 in the air rifle to clinch their 14th GARC Championship. 

“We’re delighted to win the conference championship,” coach Jon Hammond said. “We also had another solid day today. It definitely had a different feel to a normal championship. Anytime you perform well and win a championship it’s something to be proud of. With that being said, we know there is still plenty of work to be done over the next two weeks. We want to stay focused and work hard to keep improving through the end of our season.” 

The Mountaineers relied on their depth, as they finished with three of the top five overall scores at the GARC Championships. 

Juniors Jared Eddy and Verena Zaisberger both finished with a total score of 1186, good enough for second overall out of all individual performances. Eddy placed third overall in smallbore with a score of 589 and then finished fourth in air rifle with a score of 597. 

Zaisberger was able to finish first overall in air rifle with a score of 598 and finished sixth in smallbore with a score of 588. Sophomore Calista Smoyer matched Zaisberger’s mark in the air rifle as she shot a 598 in the event, which propelled the Mountaineers. 

“It’s wonderful to see some strong individual performances over the weekend,” Hammond said. “There is a lot for us to be proud of, but I know they will be ready to get back in the range this week, and we simply move to the next match in two weeks’ time. After the season we can take more time to look back and reflect on the accomplishments and journey that we have had this season.” 

West Virginia shot a total score of 4727 to win first place, followed by Kentucky who scored 4700 and Army who shot 4692 to round out the top three. 

The Mountaineers will quickly turn their focus towards the NCAA Championships as they will have two weeks of practice before trying to bring home the 2021 NCAA Rifle Championship on March 12-13, at Ohio State University.