Army's athletic program has been significantly enhanced by several state-of-the-art facilities benefiting numerous Black Knight athletes. The construction and improvement of facilities on the West Point campus has had a positive impact on Army's 25 intercollegiate sports.
The prominent rise of the rifle team as the top program in the nation, capturing is first NCAA title during the spring of 2005, is due to Tronsrue Marksmanship Center, completed in January 2000. The range underwent major reconstruction after a portion of the facility was destroyed by fire in 1996.
The indoor marksmanship center, located next to Gillis Field House along the banks of the Hudson, is equipped with three ranges to include housing the club pistol team.
The rifle range has 20 firing points, six more than the former range, with distances of 10 meters for air rifle and 50 feet for smallbore.
The air rifle range, used exclusively for air gun training and competition, also has 20 firing points and is shared by both the rifle and pistol teams.
Army unveiled its newly minted Tronsrue Marksmanship Center on a national stage when it hosted the 2003 NCAA Men's and Women's Rifle Championships, marking the national championship's first appearance at West Point since 1991.
It was also the fourth time in the NCAA's 25-year rifle history that Army has been chosen as the host site. The Black Knights first hosted the tournament in 1981, the second year that the rifle championships came under the NCAA's auspices. Current Army head coach Ron Wigger competed against the Black Knights that year as a member of Eastern Kentucky's nationally ranked rifle team.
Four years later as the host school, Army turned in a fifth place finish, putting the touches on an 11-2 season. The NCAA Championships returned to West Point in 1991, and the Black Knights turned in a sixth-place finish competing in air rifle.
Tronsrue took center stage again in 2004 when it hosted the Great America Rifle Championships with the Black Knights placing second.
Funding for the reconstruction and renovation of the range was included in West Point's Bicentennial Campaign plan as part of its "Margin of Excellence" initiative. Government funds were utilized along with private funds. The lead donors for the project were George Marion Tronsrue III (USMA '78) and Mr. And Mrs. Thomas Petrie (USMA '67).
On April 13, 2000, the center was dedicated to honor the American solider and Tronsrue's father (George Marion Tronsrue, USMA '52), a four-year member of the Army rifle team.
"Tronsrue is the largest collegiate rifle facility in the country," stated Wigger, the beneficiary of the state-of-the-art facility. "It already has had an immense impact on recruiting. Bringing a prospective candidate into this facility is paramount to a football recruit viewing Michigan's Stadium in Ann Arbor or Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Ind., for the first time. It is the same effect.
"Not only does it provide us an ideal practice facility, but a range that gives us pride knowing it is the best in the country. The dividends are evident in the number of records we have broken and continually challenge."