MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia rifle team opened its 2011-12 home season at the WVU Rifle Range today with a 4693-4637 victory against No. 6 Army.
The Mountaineers’ (3-0, 2-0 GARC) winning score was 11 shots short of the school record, 4704, last achieved at the 2011 Great American Rifle Conference (GARC) Championships in February.
WVU earned its second GARC victory of the season in dominating fashion, trumping the Black Knights in air rifle, 2364-2326, and smallbore, 2329-2311.
Six Mountaineers counted toward the team’s scores: seniors Michael Kulbacki (air) and Justin Pentz (air and smallbore), junior Petra Zublasing (air and smallbore) and freshmen Taylor Ciotola (air and smallbore), Meelis Kiisk (smallbore) and Thomas Kyanko (air and smallbore).
“Today’s scores show the team’s potential for the season,” says coach Jon Hammond. “Everyone shot really well, and more importantly, I think everyone shot to his and her capabilities. We still left some shots out there that we know we can get back. I’m excited to see where today’s performance will take us this year.”
Zublasing swept the individual competitions in record-setting fashion, shooting a collegiate-record 600 (100-100-100-100-100-100) air rifle and a 586 (196 prone, 197 standing, 193 kneeling) smallbore for a combined total of 1186.
It is believed that Zublasing is the first female collegiate shooter to earn the 600 air rifle score. Additionally, though females only shoot 40 shots in air rifle internationally, her score today is comparable to a world record.
“Petra’s air rifle score was the obvious highlight of the day,” Hammond says. “She started her relay well, but once she hit 500, she struggled with the last 10 shots. I know she fought for those last five 10s, but she was determined to get that 600 score. The fight and determination she showed today really fits her personality.”
The Mountaineers took the top three individual overall finishes, with Kyanko scoring 1169 for second place and Pentz finishing third with a score of 1168.
Kelly Buck paced the Black Knights and finished fourth overall with a combined score of 1165.
Pentz and Army’s Richard Calvin finished behind Zublasing in air rifle with matching 590 scores. Kulbacki shot 588 and placed fourth, while Kyanko finished in fifth place with a score of 586. Additionally, junior Chance Cover shot a personal-best 581 and placed eighth overall.
Four Mountaineers shot collegiate personal-best scores in smallbore today. Kyanko finished second with a 583, while Kiisk shot 581 and tied Buck for third place. Ciotola tied Army’s Joseph Todaro for fifth place with score of 579, while Cover shot 569.
Today’s win gives the Mountaineers a 32-10 series advantage.