MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The 18-time National Champion West Virginia University rifle team is ranked No. 1 in the Collegiate Rifle Coaches Association (CRCA) preseason Top 20 poll.
Four letterwinners return for the 2016-17 season, including senior team captain Jean-Pierre Lucas, junior Elizabeth Gratz and sophomores Will Anti and 2016 Olympic Gold Medalist Ginny Thrasher.
“This ranking shows the stature and the respect the team has, but we also know there’s a lot of hard work to do for this season,” Mountaineer coach Jon Hammond said. “There are a lot of good teams that are right up there with us that finished last season well.”
Murray State, the third-place finisher at the 2016 NCAA Championships, is ranked No. 2. TCU, the 2016 championship runner-up, comes in at No. 3. Kentucky sits at No. 4, followed by Ohio State at No. 5.
Alaska-Fairbanks, Nebraska, Air Force, NC State and Memphis round out the top 10.
“Every year is a new season, so every year we start again and we rebuild,” Hammond said of the four-time defending National Champion Mountaineers. “We’re just focused on getting ready for the start of the season and working hard in the range.”
The Mountaineers open their season on Sunday, Oct. 2, against Ohio State in Morgantown. The smallbore portion of the match will begin at 8 a.m. at the WVU Rifle Range. The air rifle portion of the match will begin at 1 p.m. at the WVU Indoor Track inside the Shell Building. Admission and parking is free to the public. A Mountaineer Fan Fest will follow the air rifle competition.
For more information on the Mountaineers, follow @WVURifle on Twitter.