Navy Rifle Battles to Third Place Result at President's Trophy Match
ANNAPOLIS, Md. – The 2017 President’s Trophy Match on Saturday was one for the record books as the top-three teams all recorded aggregates of 5,800-plus points and were separated by just 13 points. After the final shots were fired at the Bancroft Hall Rifle Range, the 12th-ranked Air Force Falcons defended their title with 5,821 points. The host No. 13 Navy Midshipmen and No. 16 Army Black Knights were close behind Air Force in the standings as Army edged Navy for second place by two points at 5,810 to 5,808. The Coast Guard Academy finished in fourth with a score of 5,610.
"This was a great, competitive match," remarked head coach Mike Anti. "We recorded our highest team score of the season and saw a few athletes shoot personal records. Our freshmen had very good performances in both events."
Navy’s underclassmen showed strong in the meet with plebes Torrance Kang (Columbia, Md.) and Daniel Enger (Walla Walla, Wash.) going one-two in the Mids’ lineup with respective aggregates of 1,171 and 1,167. Kestrel Kuhne (So., Everett, Pa.) posted Navy’s third-best aggregate score at 1,165. Kang trailed just Air Force’s Sarah Sawicki (1,174) for the highest match aggregate over 34 participants.
Saturday’s match used a unique scoring format in which eight shooters were listed as starters with the top-five scores counting for the final standings. The setup is used to test the depth of the four service academy schools. For NCAA-scoring purposes (five-up, four-count) the final scores were a 4,668 for Air Force, 4,656 for Army, 4,654 for Navy and 4,512 for Coast Guard.
The extremely close match saw two very competitive portions with the top-three team separated by nine points in smallbore and four in air rifle. Navy’s five counting scores in smallbore resulted in 2,880 points. Enger led the lineup with a career-best 583. Kang was three points behind at 580, also a career-high. Prior to Saturday, the previous personal-best for Enger was a 571, while Kang had posted a 574. Kuhne and Josh Watson (Jr., Enterprise, Ala.) rounded out the Mids’ top-four with respective scores of 575 and 573. Navy’s fifth score was a 569. Both Lucas Figi (So., Bozeman, Mont.) and Thomas Sarant (Sr., Massapequa, N.Y.) posted identical results.
The standings after smallbore went Air Force (2,889), Navy (2,880), Army (2,880) and Coast Guard (2,762).
In the second half of the match, the teams were even closer with the standings going Air Force (2,932), Army (2,930), Navy (2,928) and Coast Guard (2,848). Kang headlined the Mids’ air rifle performance with a career-high 591 points. She edged Kuhne by one as the sophomore posted a 590. Luke Knollinger (Fr., Valley Grove, W.Va.) was the Mids’ third most successful air rifle shooter on Saturday with a career-high score of 585. Enger capped his career day with a 584 in air rifle. Navy’s fifth counting score for President’s Trophy purposes was a 578 that came from both Sarant and Watson.
"I am very happy to see that our team score continues to trend upward," said Anti. "We'll need to carry this momentum into next weekend for our next league match."
Navy will conclude the 2017 portion of its season with a GARC match on the road at the University of Akron, next Saturday, October 11.