As college sports turns its focus to March Madness, the NCAA Rifle season came to an end this weekend with the College Rifle Championship. As a PROUD West Virginia University graduate, I regret to inform that they finished 2nd overall, losing out to national champions University of Kentucky.
OK, not totally regretfully. West Virginia University had won the previous fiveÂ national titles, and they still own an NCAA-best 19 titles overall.
And WVU still walked away with trophies. The team did win the air rifle national championship, their sixth straight trophy. Individually, Mountaineers placed second and third in air rifle. Sophomore Morgan Phillips won the smallbore championship, her second in a row. ButÂ the weekend belonged to UK, who entered day two in the lead and never relinquished it on way to becoming national champions.
College Rifle consists of two events: air rifle and smallbore. In air rifle, shooters stand and shootÂ .177-caliber lead pellets from about 11 yards out. Shooters get 105 minutes for 60 shots and the bullseye is a half millimeter wideâ€¦basically about the size of the period at the end of thisÂ sentence. The guns areÂ air or gas-powered and haveÂ metallic sights. In smallbore, shooters use .22-caliber rifles and shoot from prone, standing and kneeling positions at targets about 17 yards downrange. Shooters get 120 minutes for 20 shots from each position and the bullseye is a millimeter. Rifles have metallic sights and can be customized toÂ the shooterâ€™s preference.
I probably jinxed the team last year when I said I can copy/paste the national championship blog each year. Still, it was a successful year and with only one senior on the team, WVU Rifle should contend for the NCAA Rifle title next year as well. As a bonus, West Virginia University will host the 2019 national championship, too.