MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The No. 6-ranked West Virginia University rifle team opened its 2022-23 season with a 4712-4645 win over No. 14 Memphis on Saturday afternoon, at the Bill McKenzie Rifle Range in Morgantown.
The Mountaineers claimed both disciplines in the match, winning smallbore by a score of 2337-2291, and air rifle, 2375-2354. WVU is now 16-2 all-time against UM.
“It was nice to get the season started and to get a conference win,” coach Jon Hammond said. “I think our overall performance was okay, but there’s a lot of room for improvement. The season is long, and I think if we are determined enough and willing to put the right amount of work in, then it can be a great season. We have some more matches coming quick, and hopefully, we can improve our performance for those.”
For smallbore, senior Malori Brown, junior Tal Engler, sophomore Natalie Perrin, senior Akihito Shimizu and senior Mary Tucker counted toward WVU’s score. In air rifle, Engler, Perrin, Shimizu, Tucker and junior Molly McGhin had their scores combined for the team’s total.
Making her Mountaineer debut, Tucker led the way for West Virginia on all three leaderboards. The Sarasota, Florida, native shot a 587 in smallbore and a 597 in air rifle to come away with an aggregate score of 1184.
“I know Mary won’t be satisfied with her scores, but it’s great to see her compete for WVU, and she’s going to be a very important part of our team moving forward,” Hammond added. “She brings great intensity to her sport and we will need that accomplish the things we want to this year.”
Checking in at No. 2 on the overall leaderboard was junior Becca Lamb, who shot a 584 in smallbore and tied her career high in air rifle with a 597 for a combined total of 1181. Shimizu followed behind Lamb with an aggregate score of 1176 (582 smallbore, 594 air rifle).
“It also was great to see Becca have a strong air rifle match, and I’m sure that will give her some confidence moving forward,” Hammond concluded.
Brown came in fourth overall with a total of 1173, including a 587 in air rifle. Her 586 in smallbore was the second-best mark on the team in the match.
West Virginia’s next three shooters all checked in with an 1172 combined score. Engler showed a 582 in smallbore and a 590 in air rifle to reach the mark, while McGhin and Perrin each tallied a 580 in smallbore and a 592 in air rifle.
Fifth-year senior Verena Zaisberger came in at No. 9 on the match leaderboard with an 1170. The Hohenems, Austria, native shot a 580 in smallbore and a 590 in air rifle.
Rounding out the match’s top 10 was junior Matt Sanchez, who finished with an 1167 overall, including a 574 in smallbore and a 593 in air rifle.
Also making his Mountaineer debut, freshman Visnu Pandian saw action in the air rifle match. The Noida, India, native shot a 588 in the discipline to close out the day for West Virginia.
Next up, WVU welcomes Ole Miss to Morgantown, on Saturday, Oct. 8. The match against the Rebels is set to begin at 9 a.m. ET, at the Bill McKenzie Rifle Range inside the WVU Shell Building.
For more information on the Mountaineers, visit WVUsports.com and follow WVURifle on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.