MORGANTOWN, W.VA (WDTV) - (Includes comments from Jon Hammond, Elizabeth Gratz & Morgan Phillips)
Scenes like this have become routine for the WVU rifle team. Last year, the Mountaineers not only won their nineteenth national title, they did so while setting an NCAA Championship record score of 4723 in the process. Four of their five shooters from last year's national competition will be back in the lineup as the Mountaineers challenge seven other squads in Charleston, South Carolina.
West Virginia is undefeated this year in all competitions and the Mountaineers are coming off a victory in the Great America Rifle Conference Championships eight days ago.
Many of West Virginia's shooters have competed at the international level. Ginny Thrasher is an Olympic gold medalist, Morgan Phillips and Milica Babic won individual national titles last year. So a different tournament setup and venue is unlikely to phase the team of veterans.
For many outside the program, bringing home a 20th national title will be the measuring stick for a successful season. That's a byproduct of an unmatched record of recent and historical success.