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Saturday, October 22, 2005

Rifle: NCAA Champs Top WVU in Opener



MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The West Virginia University rifle team opened the 2005-06 season with a 4,668-4,551 loss in Great America Rifle Conference action against Army at the Mountaineer Rifle Range on Saturday.

Army, the reigning NCAA champions, defeated West Virginia by 61 points in smallbore, 2,327-2,266, and by 56 points in air rifle, 2,341-2,285.

“There is always some apprehension at the beginning of the season, not knowing how things will go,” said WVU head coach Marsha Beasley. “While I am believer in shooting against the best competition, it is tough to open with the defending NCAA champions.”

West Virginia sophomore Lafe Kunkel fired a 1,060 aggregate, and his team-high 581 smallbore score was better than two of the Black Knights’ counting scores.

Senior Brian Launer led West Virginia in air rifle with a 580, followed by Kunkel with a 579. The Mountaineers’ two other counting air scores were Natasha Dinsmore’s 565 and Robin Glebes’ 561.

Launer shot 571 in smallbore, including a near-perfect 199 prone, while sophomore Amy Smith carded a 567 and Glebes a 547.

Army’s Chris Abalo fired the best aggregate sum of 1,117, shooting a team-high 588 smallbore score. John Fiddes fired the top air rifle scored with a 591.

Notable non-counting scores for West Virginia were freshman Paul Miller making his college debut with a 568 air and 563 smallbore. Smith also shot a non-counting air rifle score of 579, tied for the second-best on the team.

“We had a couple of solid performances from returning shooters,” Beasley added. “I am particularly pleased that Paul Miller, the only freshman on the team, had a personal best in air rifle and finished in the top four WVU shooters in each event.”

WVU returns to action on Nov. 12 when it hosts a GARC match against Mississippi, followed by another GARC match on Nov. 13 vs. North Carolina State. Both matches start at 8 a.m.

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