Oct. 14, 2012
U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo. - The Air Force Academy rifle team opened the regular season this weekend matched up against the Ohio State Buckeyes and the University of Akron on Friday, Oct. 12. No. 1-ranked West Virginia joined the action on Saturday, Oct. 13, at Lt. Hugh W. Wylie Range at Ohio State University.
Air Force was the overall match winner on Friday with a score of 4625. Ohio State and Akron both split into two squads for the event. OSU Scarlet placed second with a score of 4583 and Akron Gold placed third with a score of 4559. OSU Grey (4521) and Akron Blue (4516) rounded out the team scoring.
On Saturday the Air Force team added the West Virginia Mountaineers, who are currently ranked first in the College Rifle Coaches Association Poll, to the team matches along with the Buckeyes and Akron.
WVU was the overall match winner with a score of 4690, followed by Air Force (4619), OSU Scarlet (4594), Akron Gold (4571), OSU Grey (4531) and Akron Blue (4514).
The two team scores 4625 and 4619 are season bests for the Falcons.
Leading the way for Air Force on Friday was freshman David Higgins as the high scorer with 577 points in smallbore. Sophomore Meredith Carpentier had the second highest individual score of 574. The Falcons' smallbore squad compiled 2284 points.
In air rifle, Air Force had three individuals with top scores. Freshman Tyler Rico who had the squad's highest score of the match (592), freshman Kevyn Stinett had the next highest score with 585 points and senior Ben York scored 584 points. The air rifle squad added 2341 points for the team's score of 4625 points.
On Saturday, sophomore Craig O'Daniel was the Air Force leader in smallbore with 580 points. Higgins shot a an aggregate 571 points. Carpentier fired a 575 and Rico. The squad finished second with 2291 points.
The team leaders in air rifle were Rico, Carpentier, Higgins and Stinett adding 2328 points to the final team score. Rico was the top individual shooter with 592 points followed by Carpentier with 582 points, Higgins' 581 and Stinett's 573 points.
This weekend's results were some of the team's highest scores in the last four years. According to head coach Launi Meili, the team was excited to start shooting regular season matches this weekend, especially since other schools have already started their regular season. The team has been shooting very competitively in practice and Meili predicted a good outcome from this weekend's matches. The coach also expected that the match against West Virginia was going to be their toughest match of the season.
"This first weekend gave us an indication of where we stack up in the country and gave us an idea of what we need to work on," said Meili. "Our returning shooters are continuing to improve their scores and our freshmen have been setting personal bests in practice almost every time they shoot."
If this weekend's results are an indication of what is to come in future matches, Meili should be right on in her predictions and expectations.
The rifle team is in El Paso on Oct. 27 to shoot a match against UTEP. Air Force will also compete on Oct. 28 against Nevada at the UTEP rifle range. The team will host the All Academies (President's Cup) on Nov. 3-4. Air Force hosts Nebraska and UTEP on Nov. 17-18.