The West Virginia University rifle team will be concluding the regular season Sunday in Morgantown.
This match will serve as a tune-up for the team before it heads into postseason play.
Starting next weekend on Feb. 17, the NCAA qualifying match will be held in Morgantown. West Virginia has a chance to go undefeated this season, which would be the third time in a row and for the fifth time under head coach Jon Hammond.
Hammond and his past Mountaineer teams have had success ever since he became the head coach for the 2006- 07 season. His first season, WVU went 6-4 and did not make the NCAA tournament. In all of the years following, Hammond has led the Mountaineers to no worse than a third-place finish in GARC tournament, which included eight straight championships.
He has compiled a record of 115-14 (64- 10 GARC) and his success does not seem to be stopping anytime soon, either. This season, WVU owns a 12-0 record and has held the No. 1 ranking for the majority of the season.
Hammond is well qualified to lead the No. 1 ranked rifle team in the country.
In 1998, as a junior, he won gold at the ISSF in the 50-meter prone event. He has also competed in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics and has competed in the 2010 and 2014 ISSF World Cup. One of his most successful international showings was at the 2010 Commonwealth games where he took home four medals: two gold, one silver and one bronze.
Outside of his own personal success, the athletes he has coached have found lots of success on the range. Since his hiring, WVU has seen 126 All-Americans, which includes 59 first team recognitions. In 2015, a team that won a national championship saw 23 athletes get named to the All-American team, a program record under Hammond.
At the 2016 Olympic Games, four of Hammond’s athletes competed. Among them was junior Ginny Thrasher, who won a gold medal in the women’s 10-meter air rifle, which was the first gold medal awarded at the games.
The range is not the only place where the WVU rifle team succeeds. The team also takes great pride in their school work and in the classroom. There have been 64 athletes who have been named to the Collegiate Rifle Coaches Association (CRCA) All-American Honors List.
“We have great student athletes,” Hammond said. “We have a lot of talent on the roster. They just have that drive and determination to be the best athlete and best student they can be.”
The Mountaineer rifle team finishes up the regular season at 10 a.m. Sunday against No. 3 Kentucky at the WVU Rifle Range.