Barnick wins individual air rifle title, WVU places second at National Championship

By Charles Montgomery,

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Highlighted by a pair of individual national championships, the West Virginia University rifle team placed second after two days of competition at the 2024 NCAA Division I Rifle National Championship at the WVU Coliseum in Morgantown on Saturday.

Junior Gavin Barnick claimed the individual title in the air rifle competition, shooting a 251.7. Senior Mary Tucker earned third place as she shot a 228.5. Barnick is the first Mountaineer to claim the air rifle individual title since Milica Babic in 2017.

With Tucker’s individual title in the smallbore competition, it is the first time West Virginia has had shooters win both disciplines at the national championships since 2017. It also marks the sixth time West Virginia has had two shooters claim individual titles at the same national championships. The Mountaineers now have 30 individual national champions all-time.

Tucker was named the Most Outstanding Performer following Saturday’s competitions, as she finished first with a total aggregate score of 1193. Barnick finished in a tie for seventh with a total aggregate score of 1183.

West Virginia finished with an aggregate score of 4729 to place second behind TCU, which finished with an aggregate score of 4732. The Mountaineers shot a 2376 in air rifle. West Virginia entered the day in the top spot after a smallbore aggregate score of 2353 on Friday, March 8.

In the first of two air rifle relays, Barnick, freshman Griffin Lake and senior Molly McGhin opened competition for the Mountaineers. Barnick led the relay for West Virginia, shooting a 598. McGhin shot a 591, while Lake shot a 590 to round out the first relay.

In the second relay, Tucker had a strong performance, shooting a 597. Senior Matt Sanchez shot a 588.

West Virginia completed the 2023-24 season with a perfect 13-0 mark in the regular season and a 6-0 overall in Great American Rifle Conference (GARC) competition. The NCAA national runners up, the Mountaineers also claimed the program’s 16th GARC Conference Championship in February.

Final Team Standings

  1. TCU – 4732
  2. West Virginia – 4729
  3. Alaska Fairbanks – 4719
  4. Kentucky – 4718
  5. Air Force – 4709
  6. Navy – 4698
  7. Ole Miss – 4693
  8. Nebraska – 4680

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