Feb. 22, 2014
ANNAPOLIS, Md. – The Navy rifle team closed out its regular season with a win over John Jay in the team’s annual NCAA Qualifier match by a score of 4,597 to 4,039. The 13th-ranked Mids needed a strong showing Saturday's competition as their score is half of the team's total in the NCAA Championship qualification process.
The other half comes from an average of three matches shot previously this season. The NCAA then adds the two scores together and the top eight teams will qualify for the championships in mid-March.
Sophomore Jodi Cull-Host (Los Alamos, N.M.) led the Mids on Saturday with a 1,154 aggregate score courtesy of a 570 total in the smallbore and a match-high 584 in air rifle.
“We just didn’t shoot the way that we needed to today to put ourselves in the NCAA Championship conversation,” said Navy head coach Bill Kelley. “We shot decent in the sling portion of smallbore and fairly well in the standing section. I’m not sure if we put too much pressure on ourselves or were overly anxious, but we didn’t perform in air rifle and the scores were just not there.”
In smallbore action, freshman Dan Jonas (Allentown, N.J.) highlighted Navy’s effort with a match-high 579 score. Zach Gibson (So., Montrose, Colo.) followed Jonas’ score with a 573 total. Alex Berry (Jr., Greensboro, N.C.) and Cull-Host rounded out the Mids’ counter lineups with identical scores of 570. As a team, Navy registered a 2,292 combined score.
In the second half of the competition, air rifle, Navy’s counters recorded a 2,305 team total. Cull-Host, the day’s high-scorer at 584, was followed Gibson, who shot a 577. The final two counting Mids on Saturday were Brandon Thompson (Jr., Shelbyville, Ky.) at 573 and Jonas at 571.
In non-counting air rifle action, freshman Nick Priftis
(Fairfax, Va.) shot a career-high 583 to finish just one point shy of the first place performance by Cull-Host. Brandon Pippin
(Fr., Nashville, Tenn.) joined his classmate with a strong showing as a non-starter as he recorded a 578 total.
“Our young shooters performed well today with Dan Jonas leading the way with an All-American caliber performance in smallbore and a standout showing by Nick Priftus, who recreated a great week of practice under match pressure on Saturday,” said Kelley.
“With a short week before the GARC Championships, we’ll re-group and have to be ready to shoot against a challenging field that will no doubt consist of four or five of the eight NCAA Championship teams. We’re looking forward to that test.”
Navy will begin post-season action on Friday, Feb. 28 when the Mids head to Oxford, Miss. to participate in the three-day 2014 Great American Rifle Conference Championships.