By Olivia Sneed, wvusports.com
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The No. 1-ranked West Virginia University rifle team defeated No. 3 Kentucky, 4728-4710, on Saturday in Morgantown at the WVU Rifle Range.
West Virginia finishes the regular season with a perfect 6-0 mark in the Great American Rifle Conference to claim the program’s 15th regular-season title and the first since 2022.
The Mountaineers outshot the Wildcats in both disciplines, with WVU taking smallbore 2341-2330 and air rifle 2387-2380.
Gavin Barnick, Griffin Lake, Molly McGhin and Lauri Syrja served as counters for both smallbore and air rifle while Malori Brown counted in smallbore, and Natalie Perrin counted in air rifle.
West Virginia’s Matt Sanchez topped the individual leaderboard with an aggregate score of 1184, including a 588 smallbore and a 596 in air rifle. The Tampa, Florida, native earned first place in smallbore.
Six Mountaineers finished inside the top 10 of the individual match leaderboard, including the top five spots. McGhin and Brown followed for WVU, earning second with an aggregate score of 1183. McGhin claimed second in smallbore with a 586 and added a fourth-place finish in air rifle with a 597. Brown finished in a three-way tie for first in air rifle with a 598. She added a mark of 585 in smallbore.
Barnick claimed fourth on the aggregate score leaderboard. He managed a 598 in air rifle and added a 584 in smallbore. Syrja finished just behind in fifth place with an 1180. He hit marks of 598 in air rifle and 582 in smallbore. The duo’s marks in air rifle tied for the highest in the field, along with WVU teammate Brown. Barnick and Brown both hit career highs in air rifle.
Perrin was the final Mountaineer to crack the top 10, finishing in seventh place on the overall leaderboard at 1177. She scored a 594 in air rifle and added a 583 in smallbore.
Becca Lamb posted an 1174 (584 SB – 590 AR), as Lake and Tal Engler finished with similar 1172 marks. Lake scored a 586 in smallbore, the second-best mark, and added a 586 in air rifle. Engler posted a 581 in smallbore and a 591 in air rifle.
Maximus Duncan rounded out the Mountaineers in action posting a 573 in smallbore and a 591 in air rifle to total an 1164 aggregate score.
West Virginia now turns its attention to the postseason with the NCAA Qualifier next weekend. The Mountaineers will travel to Lexington, Virginia, for a match set to begin at 9 a.m. ET on Saturday, Feb. 17.
For more information on the Mountaineers, visit WVUsports.com and follow WVURifle on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.