No. 1 WVU rifle collects another top-10 victory

Gold and Blue Nation

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The No. 1-ranked West Virginia University rifle team opened its 2021-22 home schedule by defeating No. 6 Memphis, 4718-4622, on Sunday afternoon at the Bill McKenzie Mobile Rifle Range inside the WVU Shell Building in Morgantown.

WVU (3-0, 2-0 GARC) swept Memphis (0-1, 0-1 GARC) in both disciplines, winning smallbore, 2341-2279, and air rifle, 2377-2343. With the victory, the Mountaineers now have three wins against top-10 teams this season.

“We had a pretty solid performance today, and it was nice to get our home season started,” WVU coach Jon Hammond said. “It was really a team effort today with a lot of solid results across the board. They are all working hard and making improvements, and we have to just keep doing that each week for the rest of the semester.”

Nine Mountaineers placed inside the top 10 of the individual leaderboard, including the top-eight spots. Memphis’ Angeline Henry took the No. 9 spot on the overall top 10.

Additionally, West Virginia took the top-nine placements on the individual smallbore standings and placed eight shooters inside the top 10 on the individual, air rifle leaderboard.

Sophomore Tal Engler continued her impressive 2021-22 campaign and led the Mountaineers on all three leaderboards in the match. The Tzur Yigal, Israel, native shot a 587 in smallbore (197 kneeling, 196 prone, 194 standing) and a 596 in air rifle (99-100-99-99-99-100). In total, Engler collected an aggregate score of 1183.

Fellow sophomores Molly McGhin and Matt Sanchez followed Engler in second and third place, respectively, on the overall leaderboard.

In her first competition of the new campaign, McGhin shot 586 in smallbore (197 kneeling, 200 prone, 189 standing) and was the only Mountaineer to post a perfect prone score for the match. The Griffin, Georgia, also shot a 595 in air rifle to collect an aggregate score of 1181.

Sanchez shot a career-high 586 in smallbore (191 kneeling, 199 prone, 196 standing) and also shot 595 in air rifle (98-99-99-100-100-99) for an aggregate score of 1181.

Freshman Natalie Perrin made her Mountaineer debut against Memphis and placed fourth on the overall leaderboard, with an aggregate score of 1178. The Coopersville, Michigan, native shot a 585 in air rifle (197 kneeling, 195 prone, 193 standing) and a 593 in air rifle (99-98-100-99-99-98).

Junior Akihito Shimizu rounded out the top five for the Mountaineers on the individual standings and posted an aggregate score of 1176, including 581 in smallbore and 595 in air rifle.

Junior Malori Brown and senior Verena Zaisberger followed behind Shimizu in sixth and seventh, respectively, and each totaled an aggregate score of 1175. Brown finished with a 585 in smallbore and 590 in air rifle, while Zaisberger collected a mark of 587 in smallbore and 588 in air rifle.

Sophomore Becca Lamb finished in eighth place on the overall leaderboard, with an aggregate score of 1170 (586 smallbore, 584 air rifle). Junior Calista Smoyer rounded on the top 10 for WVU after tallying an aggregate mark of 1169, including 576 in smallbore and 593 in air rifle.

Senior Jared Eddy capped WVU’s performance against Memphis with an aggregate score of 1168 (582 smallbore, 586 air rifle).

With the win, the Mountaineers improve to 15-3 all-time against the Tigers.

Next up, No. 1 West Virginia travels to Raleigh, North Carolina, on Sunday, Oct. 17, for a matchup against No. 17 NC State. Sunday’s contest against the Wolfpack is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. ET.

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