MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (Oct. 1, 2021) – The No. 3-ranked West Virginia University rifle team opens its 2021-22 season this weekend, as the Mountaineers get set to square off against No. 2 Ole Miss and No. 8 Murray State from Oct. 2-3.
WVU travels to Oxford, Mississippi, on Saturday, Oct. 2, for its season-opening contest against Ole Miss, before heading north to Murray, Kentucky, on Sunday, Oct. 3, to shoot against Murray State. Of note, the Mountaineers also open Great American Rifle Conference (GARC) action on Saturday against the Rebels.
Live targets and results will be available at WVUsports.com, courtesy of MEGAlink Electronic Scoring Systems.
“We’re excited to get this season underway,” WVU coach Jon Hammond said. “It’s exciting to have what feels like a bit more of a normal season this year. We’ve been back training for a little while. Right now, we have two of our team members, (sophomore) Molly (McGhin) and (freshman) Natalie (Perrin), who are down in Peru competing at the (ISSF) Junior World Championships with the U.S. Junior National Team. Soren (Butler), our assistant coach, also is down there serving as an assistant U.S. coach, as well, so that’s a cool experience for them.
“It’s a smaller crew for us this weekend, but we’re excited to get on the road and go and compete at two good venues against two good teams to get the season started.”
West Virginia is 18-3 all-time against Ole Miss. Last season, the Mountaineers took down the Rebels, 4734-4706, as a part of a quad-match on Jan. 30, in Morgantown. WVU also defeated GARC foes Akron (4660) and Navy (4646) on the same day. The Mountaineers swept Ole Miss in both disciplines, winning smallbore 2348-2332, and air rifle 2386-2374.
In last year’s NCAA Championships, Ole Miss shot a smallbore score of 2337 to hold at third place, while West Virginia posted a score of 2332, good for fourth place, on the first day of tournament action on March 12. The following day, WVU showed a score of 2372 in air rifle, but Ole Miss shot one point greater (2373) than the Mountaineers to take third place. West Virginia placed fourth, with a two-day total of 4704.
WVU is 25-3 all-time against Murray State. Although the series began in 1967, the Mountaineers have not competed against the Racers since the 2018-19 season. In the first-ever collegiate rifle match held inside the WVU Coliseum, West Virginia defeated Murray State by a margin of 4683-4679, as a part of a tri-meet with Ohio State (4650). Despite MSU besting WVU in smallbore, 2319-2315, the Mountaineers outlasted the Racers in air rifle, 2368-2360, to win the match.
WVU finished the 2020-21 season with a 7-1 record, including a 5-1 mark in the GARC. The Mountaineers qualified for its 14th consecutive NCAA Rifle Championships and finished the season ranked No. 4 nationally in the CRCA poll. West Virginia also captured its conference-best 14th GARC title a season ago, after shooting a two-day total of 4727 at the conference championships. At season’s end, a program-record nine shooters earned a combined, 22 CRCA All-America honors, while nine athletes also took home 21 All-GARC honors.