Ginny Thrasher of the No. 4-ranked West Virginia University rifle team was named the Great America Rifle Conference (GARC) Shooter of the Year and Outstanding Senior at the GARC Championships banquet this evening in Akron, Ohio.
A native of Springfield, Virginia, Thrasher is the fifth different Mountaineer to claim the honors in the same season and the first to do so since Garrett Spurgeon in 2016.
Six different Mountaineers have won eight GARC Shooter of the Year awards. Tonight’s honor is the second career award for Thrasher, who previously won as a sophomore in 2017. Thrasher is the 10th Mountaineer to be named Outstanding Senior. A WVU student-athlete has earned the honor every season but one since 2015.
“Ginny has had an amazing career, and these are two great awards to add to her already impressive resume,” Mountaineer coach Jon Hammond said. “She’s been a dominant shooter in our conference over her time at WVU, and its suitable for her to be the conference shooter and senior of the year in her final season.”
A nine-time All-American, Thrasher’s aggregate season average of 1178.909 ranks No. 1 in the conference, No. 2 nationally. She also ranks No. 2 in the conference, No. 4 nationally, in air rifle (594.364) and smallbore (584.545).
The first Gold Medalist of the 2016 Rio Summer Olympic Games (air rifle), Thrasher is a two-time NCAA National Champion and a four-time GARC Champion. She enters the 2019 GARC Championships as the defending air rifle and smallbore champion.
Sophomore David Koenders joined Thrasher on the podium this evening, as he was named the Mountaineers’ GARC Scholar Athlete. The honor is the first career award for the psychology major.
The All-GARC honors also were awarded tonight, and five Mountaineers claimed 15 combined honors.
“We’ve had more depth this year, and that’s been great,” Hammond noted. “Awards are nice, but we’re focused on the team’s success. Tonight’s banquet recognized this team’s hard work, but I think we’ll quickly put these honors toward the back of our minds and focus on this weekend’s matches.”
Thrasher was named to the All-GARC Air Rifle, Smallbore and Combined Score First Teams, marking the third consecutive season she has landed on each of the first teams.
Sophomore Sarah Osborn joined Thrasher on the All-GARC Smallbore First Team, while Koenders and junior Milica Babic were named to the All-GARC Air Rifle and Combined Score First Teams.
Koenders and Babic also were named to the All-GARC Smallbore Second Team. Osborn garnered All-GARC Air Rifle and Combined Score Second Team accolades.
Freshman Jared Eddy claimed three awards tonight, as he was named to the All-GARC Smallbore, Air Rifle and Combined Score Honorable Mention Teams.
Kentucky’s Will Shaner was named the GARC Rookie of the Year, while Navy’s Mike Anti was named the GARC Coach of the Year.
The 2019 GARC regular-season champion, WVU aims for its 10th consecutive and conference-best 13th championships crown this weekend, as the Mountaineers compete at the 2019 GARC Championships, Feb. 22-23, at the University of Akron’s Stile Athletics Field House in Akron, Ohio.
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