Milica Babic

Milica Babic, the 217 NCAA air rifle champion, finished first in the rifle discipline competition versus Memphis last Sunday with a 598 total

AUSTIN, Texas — The West Virginia University rifle team earned its second win of the weekend with a 4714-4654 victory over Memphis last Sunday, at the Fogelman Rifle Range, in Memphis, Tenn.

The Mountaineers, who are 4-0, 3-0 in the Great American Rifle Conference, easily swept the discipline competitions, defeating the Tigers (0-3, 0-3 GARC) 2339-2306 in smallbore and 2375-2348 in air rifle. 

“I thought they worked really hard today,” 14-year coach Jon Hammond said. “It’s not easy shooting two matches back-to-back, especially on the road, but they were determined to shoot well. We had a good team performance, as well as a lot of individual ones. Hopefully, they can take away some positives from the things that they did well on, as well as challenge themselves to make some improvements in the off week.”

The Mountaineers captured the top-eight spots in the overall standings, with senior Milica Babic posting an aggregate score of 1185 to win her second competition of the year.

David Crenshaw paced the Tigers with a combined total of 1166, placing eighth, followed by Matt Dorey in ninth with an overall score of 1165.

A pair of Mountaineers finished first in the individual competitions. Babic, the 2017 NCAA air rifle champion, finished first in the discipline with a 598 (100-99-99-100-100-100) total, two shots short of a perfect score. Senior Morgan Phillips shot a season-high, winning 591 (194 kneeling, 200 prone, 197 standing) smallbore. In the win, Phillips matched a program record, shooting 200 prone.

“Milica and Morgan stood out today, winning the individual competitions,” Hammond said. “Milica is one of our strongest air rifle shooters, and Morgan had an excellent match in smallbore.”

Junior David Koenders shot a smallbore career-best 590 and placed second, while Babic finished in third with a 587 total. Of note, Babic also matched the program’s prone record of 200.

“David had an excellent smallbore match,” Hammond said. “It was a personal best for him. Breaking the 590 barrier in smallbore is very satisfying, and I’m glad he was able to finish his match on such a high note.” 

Junior Sarah Osborn and freshman Akihito Shimizu rounded out the Mountaineers in the top five, shooting 582 and 580, respectively.

Sophomore Jared Eddy shot 579 and finished eighth, and freshman Malori Brown followed in ninth place with a 578 total. 

Junior Noah Barker shot a season-high 577 and tied for 10th. Freshman Calista Smoyer and sophomore Verena Zaisberger followed with marks of 575 and 568, respectively, a career-high for Smoyer. 

In air rifle, Shimizu placed second with a 594 total, two shots short of a career high.

Eddy tied for third, shooting 592, while Koenders and Zaisberger tied for fifth with 591s.

Osborn and Brown shot matching 589s to tie for seventh, while Phillips finished in ninth place with a 588. Of note, Brown scored a career high in the tie. Smoyer shot 587 to round out the Mountaineers in the top 10, and Barker equaled his season-high score of 586 to place 12th.

Five Mountaineers shot toward the team score in both disciplines: Babic, Eddy, Koenders, Osborn and Shimizu.

With the win, WVU improves to 14-3 all-time against Memphis.

Following the pair of GARC road victories last weekend, the West Virginia University rifle team sits at No. 2 in this week’s College Rifle Coaches Association (CRCA) Rankings.

Looking ahead, the Mountaineers will break from action for a week before welcoming Akron to Morgantown on Saturday, Nov. 16, followed by NC State on Sunday, Nov. 17.

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