Navy Rifle Finishes Program-Best Third at 2018 GARC Championship
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The Navy rifle team concluded its most successful weekend of Great American Rifle Conference Championship action in team history on Sunday with a third place result. Tallying 2,348 points in the air rifle portion of the two-day competition at the Bill McKenzie Rifle Range inside the WVU Shell Building on Sunday, the Mids totaled 4,663 aggregate points to finish third overall in a deep and talented nine-time field.
A pair of underclassmen, sophomore Kestrel Kuhne (Everett, Pa.) and freshman Torrance Kang (Columbia, Md.) highlighted Navy’s effort on Sunday in air rifle as the pair came within one point of each other with Kuhne posting a 592 and Kang a 591. Kuhne finished in a five-way tie for fifth place in the individual standings, while Kang was one of four shooters tied for 10th overall in a field of 73.
In the team standings, Navy’s air rifle score was fourth-best trailing Kentucky (2,367), West Virginia (2,366) and Ole Miss (2,362). Coupled with Saturday’s smallbore 2,315-point effort the Mids’ 4,663 placed third behind Kentucky’s 4,686 and West Virginia’s 4,699. Prior to this meet, Navy’s best team finish at GARCs was a sixth in 2015, while its best point total was 4,621 in 2017.
For the weekend, Enger was Navy’s top aggregate scorer with 1,169 points with a 585 in smallbore and 584 in air rifle. That two-gun total equaled Enger’s personal-best that was recorded last Saturday in the NCAA Qualifying Match against John Jay. Kang and Watson tied for second on the team at 1,166, while Kuhne was fourth at 1,165.
Following the team competition, Kuhne went shoulder-to-shoulder as one of eight individual air rifle finalists. In the precision-based contest, Kuhne finished sixth overall with 161.9 points over the course of five series. West Virginia’s Ginny Thrasher won her second individual final of the weekend as she netted 250.7 points over nine series.
“What a great weekend for the Naval Academy rifle team” exclaimed head coach Mike Anti. “This was the team’s best performance of the season. They shot their third highest score of the year at one of the most important and pressure-packed competitions. The Great American Rifle Conference is the toughest league in the NCAA and to place third in its championship is an amazing accomplishment. Not to mention the individual awards and three athletes qualifying for finals. I am very proud of our team for their performance and professionalism that was also recognized by earning the GARC Sportsmanship Award.”
With the team season complete, the duo of Kuhne and Kang will use the next two weeks to prepare for the 2018 NCAA Championships. The National Championships will be held March 9-10, at The Citadel's McAlister Field House in Charleston, South Carolina.
Final GARC Team Standings
West Virginia – 4,699
Kentucky – 4,686
Navy – 4,663
Nebraska – 4,651
Ole Miss – 4,651
North Carolina State – 4,646
Army – 4,639
Akron – 4,637
Memphis – 4,624