By Lars Dalseide | March 15 2014 10:42

From USA Shooting - Nanook Marksman Sherry Claims NCAA Smallbore Title While WVU is Halfway to Sweet 16

Murray, Kentucky - An exciting first day of NCAA Rifle action concluded with University Alaska-Fairbanks shooter Tim Sherry claiming an individual title while West Virginia University stands on the precipice of another impressive team title.

Sherry etched his name in the history books of all-time Nanook greats with an impressive performance in the finals.  Meanwhile, WVU opened defense of its national championship, winning the 2014 NCAA smallbore tilte with a score of 2338 today, at the 2014 NCAA Rifle Championships, at the Pat Spurgin Rifle Range, in Murray, Ky. 

The smallbore title is a first under Mountaineers coach Jon Hammond, now in his eighth year.  Five student-athletes shot for WVU, with juniors Ziva Dvorsak (588), Thomas Kyanko (584) and Meelis Kiisk (581), and sophomore Garrett Spurgeon (585) combining for the team score. Additionally, junior Maren Prediger shot 571. 

“I don’t know if we expected this result, but I knew we were capable of this,” says Hammond. “They are all really good, experienced shooters. We prepared carefully for this championship. We wanted them to be comfortable shooting this match, and they were. They were confident, and they were able to shoot scores in and around their season averages. You can’t ask for a whole lot more than that.” 

No. 3-ranked Alaska-Fairbanks trails WVU by 17 shots and sits in second place with a 2321 score. No. 6 Memphis is third with a 2320 mark, while No. 2 Kentucky is fourth (2316) and No. 4 Nebraska is fifth (2313). 

The Mountaineers’ (10-0, 7-0 GARC) score is their second-highest of the season and top mark since shooting 2342 in a win over NC State on Jan. 19. 

WVU led all schools with three individual finalists including Dvorsak, National Junior Team member Spurgeon, and Kyanko. Ohio State followed with two finalists including Amanda Luoma (587) and National Junior Team member Deanna Binnie (584). The other finalist included Elizabeth Lee of Memphis (585). 

Spurgeon, a Canton, Mo., native, and eventual winner Tim Sherry of Alaska-Fairbanks were neck-and-neck throughout the final five shots, with Sherry owning a four-tenths lead entering the last shot. Sherry edged Spurgeon on the final shot, 7.7-7.6, and scored the national title with a final score of 452.1. Nebraska’s Denise Martin finished third with a score of 443.3. Binnie finished fourth to put two USA Shooting National Junior Team members into the final four of NCAA Rifle results on Day 1. 

“We will approach tomorrow as a completely new day,” says Hammond. “We can’t worry about the score at all. We need to forget about today and re-focus. We don’t want to be up or down. We want to be very even tomorrow – focused, prepared and professional. We want to shoot our best.” 

For NCAA Smallbore results, click here: http://www.odcmp.org/range/IndividualSmallbore.pdf

For photos visit this gallery, courtesy of Todd May: http://galleries.maysphotography.com/ncaa/index.html

To follow the action on Saturday, click here: http://www.thecmp.org/3p/NCAA/2014Championships.htm

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