Zublasing

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- No. 1 West Virginia closed out its home and regular seasons with a resounding 4,700-4,628 victory against No. 11 Murray State at the WVU Rifle Range.

Senior Petra Zublasing stood out in her final Mountaineer home match, as she opened the competition with a winning, school-record 594 (199 prone, 197 standing, 198 kneeling) smallbore score. She nearly shot a school record in air rifle, too, but she dropped her final shot of the relay, finishing with a first place, season-best mark of 599 (100-100-100-100-100-99). Zublasing’s aggregate total of 1,193 is a school record.

“Petra [Zublasing] had an awesome performance,” West Virginia head coach Jon Hammond said. “She shot her smallbore record first. To follow that up with a 599 in air rifle was just fantastic. She doesn’t struggle under pressure at all, but every shot of the match is hard, and to shoot a 600 in air gun is extremely hard. She took two or three holds on the last shot, but it just wasn’t meant to be.

“Having said that, she definitely battled in this match. Anyone would have felt a little extra pressure on that last shot. Petra is capable of shooting 600 on any given day. I think she would have really liked that score [Saturday], but she was delighted with her overall performance.”

Zublasing’s smallbore score was one shot better than the previous Mountaineer record of 593, first shot by Olympic Gold medalist Nicco Campriani at the Winthrow Invitational on Jan. 21, 2010. Zublasing shot 593 once this season, as she recorded the score on Nov. 18 at Alaska-Fairbanks; she first shot 593 against Murray State on Oct. 30, 2011. Her aggregate record toppled Campriani’s record of 1,192, shot against Columbus State on Feb. 6, 2011.

“Petra [Zublasing] has been knocking on the door of this smallbore record all season,” Hammond said. “To set the new mark is just great. It’s a special record. Nicco [Campriani] is one of the best Mountaineer shooters ever; he was the best shooter in the world last year. I know Petra is happy to have finally set that record.”

The Mountaineers’ (11-1, 5-1 GARC) team total is their first 4,700-plus score of the spring semester. WVU defeated the Racers (1-8) 2,328-2,292 in smallbore and 2,372-2,336 in air rifle.

“It was nice to get this extra match in,” Hammond said of the contest that was just added on Feb. 4. “Hopefully, over the next three matches, we can build on this result. We want to tweak a few things and slowly improve, with the hope that we peak in a month at the NCAA Championships.

“We can definitely shoot better, but this was a solid day. No one had a terrible day, and we’ll use this result to figure some things out. We’re fortunate to have depth on this squad. We’re going to see how everything plays out over the next few weeks as we prepare for the championships.”

Sophomore Maren Prediger kept pace with Zublasing throughout the air rifle relay as he just missed tying for the win with a career-best 598 (100-100-100-99-100-99) total.

The Mountaineers were solid in air rifle, as seven shooters shot 580 or better. Sophomore Meelis Kiisk finished third with a 589 mark, while classmates Taylor Ciotola and Thomas Kyanko tied for fourth place with 586s. Junior Chance Cover and freshman Garrett Spurgeon each shot 583 and tied for eighth.

WVU solidly outshot Murray State in smallbore, as the Mountaineers swept the discipline’s top–five spots. Spurgeon finished second behind Zublasing with a 581 score, while Kiisk shot 578 and finished third. Kyanko recorded a 576 and finished fourth, while junior Daniel Sojka shot 575 and tied the Racers’ Tessa Howard for fifth place.

Zublasing, Prediger, Kiisk and Spurgeon shot toward the team’s smallbore and air rifle scores on Saturday. Ciotola contributed to air rifle, while Sojka shot toward smallbore.

With the win, WVU improved to 21-3 all-time against Murray State.