Feb. 16, 2012
WEST POINT, N.Y. -
Army, ranked No. 4 in the latest College Rifle Coaches Association (CRCA) poll, closes out its regular-season schedule hosting the University of the Sciences and SUNY-Maritime in its NCAA Qualifier Saturday morning at Tronsrue Marksmanship Center.
Saturday's match will count as half of the total in the final qualification process in determining the top eight teams that will qualify for the NCAA Tournament in Columbus, Ohio, March 9-10. The other half comes from an average of three previous matches shot at different venues.
The Qualifier is the final denominator and the Black Knights will be looking to meet the standard for the ninth straight year. Army (7-3) enters the match with a 4667.67 average, trailing TCU (4700.0), defending NCAA champion Kentucky (4699.0) and West Virginia (4680.67).
UTEP (4657.67) lists No. 5 followed by No.6 Alaska-Fairbanks (4654.33), Nevada at No. 7 (4652.33), Ole Miss at No. 8 (4651.67), Jacksonville State at No. 9 (4650.00) and Murray State at No. 10 (4633.67).
The Black Knights, Kentucky, West Virginia and Ole Miss are members of the Great American Rifle Conference (GARC) that is well represented among the nation's top eight teams. The 2011 NCAA champion Wildcats (11-1) captured this year's GARC regular-season title with a 6-0 mark, while their lone loss of the season is to TCU, 4703-4694. Defending GARC champion West Virginia (10-2) posted a 5-1 mark in the conference followed by Army (4-2).
Fans will be able to follow the scoring in Saturday's triangular through live stats by clicking onto http://www.goarmysports.com/sports/c-rifle/sched/army-c-rifle-sched.html
Army was idle last week following a 5808-5713 defeat of host Navy two weeks ago in the annual Star match. In the four-man NCAA format, the Black Knights posted season highs in the aggregate (4674) and air rifle (2352) scoring, the latter just five points off the school record set in November of 2007. The aggregate score is Army's highest since posting a 4678 in 2007-08.
Head coach Ron Wigger's team will be looking for a strong performance to clinch an NCAA berth and send seniors Chris Arnett, Kelly Buck and team captain Tommy Carr off on a winning note.
Buck will be looking to make her fourth straight NCAA appearance next month. A 2011 All-American in smallbore, the native of Reading, Mass., captured medalist honors in both disciplines in the Navy meet. She equaled her highest smallbore score in the series duplicating last year's winning mark of 586, while her 592 mark in air rifle is just one point shy of the career high 593 she set last year.
Army swept the top three places in air rifle with sophomores Richard Calvin (589) taking runner-up honors and Michael Matthews (586) placing third. The Black Knights claimed four of the top five positions and seven of the top 10 places. Sophomore Zachary Wells' 585 (fifth highest score in the meet) rounded out the Black Knights' air rifle unit that shattered the previous high 2343 set in the fall against North Carolina State.
Buck led an Army sweep of the top five places in smallbore, beating Matthews (580) by six points to earn medalist honors for the fourth time in that discipline this season. Jacob Costa, setting a personal best, and William Mengon tied for third-place honors with 579s, with Joseph Todaro next at 577.