My beloved alma materâ€¦it seems every year around this time I am blogging about the West Virginia University Rifle Team‘s success. So here we are, 2017, and the four-time defending National Champions are poised to make another title run after an undefeated regular season and more record-breaking success.
WVU Rifle ended the regular season by winning the Great American RifleÂ Conference regular season for a conference-best 10th time. This was bolstered by a PERFECT 600 by Elizabeth Gratz, which wasÂ the first perfect score shot in the NCAA this year and first perfect score by a Mountaineer sinceÂ 2011. That year it was actually done twice, by two future olympians. And speaking of olympians, this year’s WVU Rifle team stillÂ features a current Olympic gold-medal winner in Ginny Thrasher. Talk about greatness!
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.
Amazingly, the WVU RifleÂ is ranked #2 in the nation behind Texas Christian University, who also finished undefeated. Qualifiers will be taking place as tournament time nears. I predict you will be hearing from me againâ€¦#HAILWV.
(Slider image from WVU Sports)