West Virgina overcomes three-shot deficit to beat Alaska-Fairbanks

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Top-ranked West Virginia overcame a three-shot smallbore deficit to defeat No. 3 Alaska-Fairbanks 4,709-4,680 on Thursday, at the WVU Rifle Range.

The Mountaineers’ (9-0, 6-0 GARC) combined total is one-shot short of its NCAA season-best score of 4,710, shot Jan. 24 at the Withrow Invitational.

Thursday’s loss is the first of the season for UAF.

WVU dominated the Nanooks (9-1) in air rifle 2,380-2,348.

The squad’s score, a season high, is one-shot short of matching its program-best mark of 2,381. UAF opened the match defeating WVU in smallbore, 2,332-2,329.

Four of the five Mountaineer counters finished in the top four air rifle spots. Junior Maren Prediger finished first with a 597 (99-100-99-99-100-100) score, while classmate Ziva Dvorsak matched her season-high showing of 596 and placed second. Sophomore Garrett Spurgeon finished third and matched his career high with a 594 score, and junior Thomas Kyanko shot a season-high 593 for a fourth-place finish; the score is one-shot short of the Wellsburg, W.Va., native’s career high.

Junior Meelis Kiisk, the fifth WVU counter, tallied 580.

Several non-counting Mountaineer shooters also had strong air rifle showings today. Sophomore Patrick Sunderman matched his career-best score of 591 and finished in a fifth-place tie with UAF’s Tim Sherry. Additionally, junior Taylor Ciotola and redshirt-freshman Jean-Pierre Lucas each shot a season-high 590 and tied for seventh place.

The Nanooks’ Lorelie Stanfield shot 587 smallbore for the discipline win. Kyanko finished just behind with a season-best 586 score (197 kneeling, 200 prone, 189 standing). Dvorsak placed third with a 584, while Spurgeon tied for fourth with a 583 mark. Senior Daniel Sojka tied for sixth place with a 582 total.

Of note, Kyanko and Ciotola each shot a school-record 200 prone today.

Dvorsak shot a match-best 1,180 aggregate total. Kyanko finished second with a season-best 1,179 score, and Spurgeon’s 1,177 was good enough for third.

With the win, the Mountaineers improve to 9-6 all-time against UAF.

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