Feb. 27, 2014
WEST POINT, N.Y. - Just before heading to the Great America Rifle Conference Championships this weekend, Army's rifle team learned that its postseason run will continue as the seventh-ranked Black Knights were among eight teams to qualify for the 2014 NCAA Rifle Championships in Thursday's announcement by the NCAA Rifle Committee.
It is the eleventh straight year that Army has qualified under present head coach RonWigger. Army won the national title in 2005, was runner-up twice (2007 and 2008), along with a third place finish (2006).
Murray State will be the host school for the championships to be held March 14-15 at Pat Spurgin Rifle Range and CFSB Center in Murray, Ky.
The top eight teams in both smallbore three-position and air rifle were selected based on the average of the three highest regular-season aggregate scores with no more than once match at any given site. The average of the three highest scores was added to the aggregate scores from the designated qualifiers to determine the top eight teams.
The Black Knights finished sixth at last year's 2013 NCAA Championships and Army's senior-laden team will be looking to place among the top three this year.
Army head into its NCAA Qualifier ranked No. 7 in the nation where it will be joined by Alaska Fairbanks, Jacksonville State, Kentucky, Memphis, Nebraska, Texas Christian and West Virginia. The defending champion Mountaineers (10-0) are ranked No. 1 nationally with the Huskers second and the Nanooks third. West Virginia shot a nation-best 4710 earlier this year.
A total of 48 competitors will compete at the championships, with eight selected as individual qualifiers. A new NCAA rule this season stipulates that a school that qualifies as a team is disqualified from sending individual qualifiers.
Five of the teams in the field are members of the GARC in Army, West Virginia, Kentucky, Memphis and Nebraska. West Virginia is this year's regular-season (7-0) champions and head to the GARC Championships this weekend, March 1-2, in Oxford, Miss., looking to claim its fifth straight title.
The Black Knights closed out their GARC slate 3-4 with wins over Ole Miss, Navy and North Carolina State, while bowing to Memphis, West Virginia, Kentucky and Nebraska.
Army is looking to improve upon last year's fourth-place showing at the GARC Championships. The Black Knights finished the regular-season 7-5 after sweeping a quadrangular posting a 4657 in their NCAA Qualifier. Army's top score of the season is a 4669 fired against West Virginia, along with a 2356 mark in air rifle, which is just one point off the school record, recorded against NC State.
Competition for the GARC Championships starts Saturday with smallbore beginning at 7 a.m., followed by the finals at 5:30 p.m. The championships conclude Sunday with air rifle at 8 a.m. and the finals at 12:45 p.m.
Live scoring will be available on Mississippi's by clicking HERE