West Virginia University wins fourth straight NCAA championship

March 11th and 12th one of the most gruelling matches in shooting took place at the University of Akron’s Field House. The eight teams that came together to compete for the NCAA Championship title were; US Air Force Academy, University of Alaska Fairbanks, University of Kentucky, Murray State University, University of Nebraska, Ohio State University, Texas Christian University, and West Virginia University.


The pressure was on for the number one ranked and three-time defending champion West Virginia University Mountaineers as they stepped to the firing line in quest of defending their NCAA title. The Mountaineers not only brought home the coveted first place NCAA Overall Team trophy, they also won both the smallbore and air rifle team titles. With a score of 4703 the Mountaineers surpassed their closest opponent, Texas Christian University, by nine points. In third, 4 points behind was the Number two ranked Murray State with a total score of 4790.


As if the excitement of the Mountaineers winning their fourth consecutive title wasn’t enough, freshman Ginny Thrasher became one of only four shooters to ever win both the smallbore and air rifle individual titles in the same year. Thrasher dominated the smallbore individual final on Friday with a final score of 461.5 followed by fellow teammate Meelis Kissk (455.3) and TCU’s Rachel Garner (444.6). In the air rifle competition Thrasher won a close battle with Mindy Miles (TCU) which came down to the last shot to determine the champion. Thrasher finished first with a final score of 208.8, Miles second with a final score of 208.3 and individual qualifier Ali Weisz of the University of Mississippi finished third with a final score of 184.0.


Photo credit: Todd May

West Virginia University has the most NCAA Championship wins in rifle history, 18 total victories. The Mountaineers also finished the season undefeated.