Feb. 20, 2013
WEST POINT, N.Y. -
For the 10th straight year, Army's rifle team was among the eight-team field that qualified for the NCAA Championships following Wednesday's announcement during the National Collegiate Rifle Selection Show on NCAA.com.
The Black Knights found out their fate as the team assembled in the auditorium of ODIA as well as who they will be competing against when they head to the NCAA Championships being hosted for the second straight year by Ohio State on March 8-9 in Columbus, Ohio.
"I am very pleased for our team, especially after replacing one of the top shooters in the program last year in Kelly Buck (All-America),"said head coach Ron Wigger. "Overall this team produced, and I am looking for a strong performance at our conference championship this weekend and the NCAAs the second weekend in March."
Ranked sixth-nationally the Black Knights are one of two service academies to qualify as No. 8 Air Force joins the field for the first time since 2003. Rounding out the 2013 teams are No. 1 West Virginia, No. 2 Kentucky, No. 3 TCU, No. 4 Alaska Fairbanks, No. 5 Jacksonville State along with No. 7 Nebraska.
The Great America Rifle Conference (GARC) has four teams among this year's field to include Army, Kentucky, West Virginia and Nebraska. The Wildcats captured the regular-season GARC title (6-0) after defeating the Mountaineers, who listed No. 1 in the country the majority of the 2012-13 season.
West Virginia posted the top score in the country in its NCAA Qualifier with a 4716 en route to compiling a 9432 composite (50 percent coming from the NCAA Qualifier and the remaining 50 percent from an average of the three highest scores).
Kentucky, firing a 4697 at its NCAA Qualifier, was next with a 9399.33 total with TCU (4682 NCAA Qualifier) rounding out the top three with a 9393 composite.
Alaska Fairbanks listed fourth (9341.67) followed by Jacksonville State (9330.67), Army (9329.00), Nebraska (9298.67) and Air Force (9284.33). Army's 4666 team score at the NCAA Qualifier, its second highest of the season, listed fifth among the field, edging Jackson State's mark of 4664 by two points.
The Black Knights closed out their regular-season third in the conference standings (4-2) compiling a 10-3 overall mark for its highest victory total since 2007-08. Army's three losses were to West Virginia and Kentucky, along with suffering a one-point loss to Jacksonville State.
The individual qualifiers will be announced on Thursday with Army junior Zachary Wells among the contenders in air rifle.
Army heads to Oxford, Miss., this weekend to compete at the GARC Championships. The Black Knights are the defending smallbore champions. The smallbore relays will be on Saturday, followed by air rifle relays on Sunday.
NCAA Championship Field (Top Eight)
1. West Virginia - 9,432
2. Kentucky - 9,399.33
3. TCU - 9,393
4. Alaska-Fairbanks - 9,338
5. Jacksonville State - 9,330.67
6. Army - 9,329
7. Nebraska - 9,298.67
8. Air Force - 9,284.33