The top-ranked West Virginia University rifle team opens the 2021 season at Great America Rifle Conference (GARC) foe No. 10 Akron on Saturday, Jan. 16, at 9 a.m. ET, at the Robert A. Pinn Shooting Range, in Akron, Ohio.
The Mountaineers’ 2019-20 season was cut short due to COVID-19. WVU finished the regular season with a 9-1 mark, including a 7-1 record in conference action, and completed the year ranked No. 3 nationally.
“We’re really excited to get our season started this weekend,” 15-year coach Jon Hammond said. “It’s been an extra-long wait, and such a different season so far. Competing will bring a bit more normality back to the student-athletes. It’s a conference match, and Akron finished fifth in the rankings last season, so it will be a good competition to start the season. It’s always good experience to go on the road. We have many on the team who have not shot there before, which also will be a good challenge for them.”
WVU is 18-0 all-time against the Zips since its first meeting in 1952. Last season, the Mountaineers earned a 4719-4672 win against Akron on Nov. 16, 2019, at the Bill McKenzie Rifle Range inside the WVU Coliseum, in Morgantown. WVU swept the disciplines, with rising senior Sarah Osborn finishing first overall. She shot a personal-best 596 air rifle and 585 smallbore.
Last season, the Mountaineers had eight shooters earn a combined 21 National Rifle Association (NRA) and College Rifle Coaches Association (CRCA) All-America honors.
Six letterwinners return for the Mountaineers this year: senior Sarah Osborn, juniors Jared Eddy and Verena Zaisberger and sophomores Akihito Shimizu, Malori Brown and Calista Smoyer.
Additionally, four newcomers will don the Gold and Blue for the first time in 2021, as freshmen Tal Engler, Becca Lamb, Molly McGhin and Matthew Sanchez join the Mountaineers.
Ranked No. 10 in the College Rifle Coaches Association (CRCA) regular-season poll, Akron opened its 2020-21 season on Oct. 3, 2020. The Zips hold a 4-0 mark, including a 2-1 record in conference action. Akron fell to TCU in its last meeting on Jan. 10, 2021, with a score of 4670-4716.
For more information on the Mountaineers, visit WVUsports.com and follow WVURifle on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.