West Virginia University
Director of Athletics Oliver Luck announced today the 2012-13 rifle
schedule, which features six home matches and a trip to 10-time NCAA
"The rifle team does not shy away from tough competition, and
this year's slate is no different," says Luck. "I am excited to
watch coach Jon Hammond and the Mountaineers navigate a schedule, which
features past NCAA champions, as they pursue the program's nation-best
15th national title."
"This schedule isn't overloaded, but it certainly isn't
quiet, either," says seventh-year Mountaineer coach Jon Hammond.
"There's barely a weekend off, and we will still be busy. Our
spring season has a few less matches, and this will help our focus for
the NCAA Championships."
The Mountaineers, winners of 14 national championships, last
secured the NCAA title in 2009. For the first time in three years, this
year's roster is void of any holdovers from that championship run.
This year's slate features three teams from the 2012 NCAA
Championships field – runner-up Kentucky, third place Alaska-Fairbanks
and fourth place Army. TCU won the 2012 national title, while WVU
The Mountaineers open their season on Oct. 7 in West Point,
N.Y., with a shoulder-to-shoulder match against Army, a Great American
Rifle Conference (GARC) foe. The squad then visits Ohio State on Oct. 13
before opening its home season at the WVU Rifle Range on Oct. 16 against
GARC opponent Memphis.
The Mountaineers will stay home for a month and play host to
Navy and GARC foes Ole Miss and NC State before closing out their fall
schedule at Alaska-Fairbanks on Nov. 17-18.
"We haven't traveled to Alaska since I have been with the
team, and I have been looking to add this trip for awhile now," says
Hammond. "Alaska-Fairbanks is a great rival, and after all of their
trips out to our range the last few seasons, we owe them a trip. There
is a lot of history and tradition between these two squads, and I'm
excited to take this team out there."
Following a two-month winter break, the Mountaineers will return
to the WVU Rifle Range on Jan. 19 with a shoulder-to-shoulder match
against GARC opponent Nebraska. The team will then close its
regular-season home schedule against Akron on Jan. 28 before traveling
to GARC rival Kentucky on Feb. 2 for its regular-season finale.
The annual late-season match against the Wildcats is always one
of the Mountaineers' toughest, and as of late, the winner has been
crowned the conference's regular-season champion. WVU and UK, the 2011
NCAA champions, have developed a healthy rivalry, as the two squads have
battled for the GARC's top position each of the last four seasons.
Following the Wildcats' 2009 sweep of the regular-season and
tournament titles, the same year the Mountaineers won the national
championship, WVU laid claim to both in 2010. The squads split the
titles in 2011 and 2012, with UK earning the regular-season crown both
years and WVU winning its second and third straight conference titles.
"I think we like having this type of match so late in the
season," Hammond explains. "It is a good quality match to have prior
to championship season."
After shooting in an NCAA qualifying match on Feb. 16, the
Mountaineers will compete for their fourth consecutive GARC title on
Feb. 23-24, in Oxford, Miss. WVU is the only team to win three straight
championships (1998-2000 and 2010-12); no squad has won four consecutive
"We have really enjoyed shooting in Oxford, and we absolutely
will be trying our best to win every match this season, especially in
postseason," Hammond says. "Winning a fourth straight GARC title
will depend on each individual shooting their best; this will result in
a great team score. Just like every year before, we will work our
hardest to be ready to peak in the spring season."
For the second straight season, the NCAA Championships will be
held at Ohio State's Converse Hall and French Field House on March
8-9. Three Mountaineers return with national championships experience
– senior Petra Zublasing, the reigning NCAA air rifle champion, and
sophomores Thomas Kyanko and Taylor Ciotola.
"Ohio State hosted a great championship last season, and I'm
glad we'll have some familiarity with the range," says Hammond.
"We would have to be prepared for any range, but that comfort
factor could be huge."
WVU returns four National Rifle Association All-Americans –
Zublasing, a 2012 London Summer Olympics participant, Kyanko, Ciotola
and Meelis Kiisk – from a team that went 12-2 overall and 5-1 in
2012-13 WVU Rifle Schedule
Date Opponent Place Time
Oct. 7 Army* West Point, N.Y.
Oct. 13 Ohio State Columbus,
Ohio All Day
16 Memphis* Morgantown All
27 Navy Morgantown All
Nov. 9 Ole
Miss* Morgantown All
Nov. 11 NC
State* Morgantown All
Nov. 17 Alaska-Fairbanks
Fairbanks, Alaska All Day
Nov. 18 Alaska-Fairbanks
Fairbanks, Alaska All Day
19 Nebraska* Morgantown All
28 Akron Morgantown All
Feb. 2 Kentucky* Lexington,
Ky. All Day
Feb. 16 NCAA Qualifiers
TBA All Day
Feb. 23-24 GARC Championships Oxford,
Miss. All Day
March 8-9 NCAA Championships Columbus,
Ohio All Day
* - Great American Rifle Conference opponent
All matches expected to begin at 8 a.m. local time