Rifle Wraps Up Regular-Season With NCAA Qualifier

Zachary Wells

Zachary Wells

Feb. 19, 2014

WEST POINT, N.Y. - Army's rifle team closes out its regular-season schedule Saturday hosting its NCAA Qualifying Match at 9 a.m. firing against the University of the Sciences and SUNY-Maritime at Tronsrue Marksmanship Center. It is also "Senior Day" for Richard Calvin, Michael Matthews, Joseph Todaro and Zachary Wells.

The seventh-ranked Black Knights will be looking to meet the standards for the NCAA Rifle Championships for the 11th straight year. The team score at the NCAA Qualifier contributes to the weighted average that determines the top eight teams with the remaining 50 percent coming from an average of a team's top-three scores over the course of the season with no two scores allowed from the same site.

This year's NCAA Championships will be hosted by Murray State, March 14-15.

The Black Knights (5-5) will be looking to sweep Saturday's triangular en route to posting their third straight winning campaign and 13th under head coach Ron Wigger. Army's senior class heads into the meet with 30 wins to include beating Navy all four years, along with taking fourth place at the NCAA Championships in 2012 and third at the Great America Rifle Conference Championships (2011).

The Black Knights have been idle since closing out their GARC regular-season slate two weeks. Army defeated North Carolina State, 4662-4590, behind a season-high 2356 air rifle score, which was just a point off the school record. The Black Knights fell to No. 4 Nebraska 4669-4650 two days later to close out their conference slate 3-4 with all four losses to teams ranked in the top six nationally.

In the North Carolina victory, team captain Todaro shared medalist honors in smallbore and was runner-up to Calvin in air rifle. Todaro fired the top mark of 586 in smallbore with Matthews a point behind at 585. Todaro's 591 air rifle score was a career high as he finished a point behind Calvin, who earned medalist honors for the second time this season.

Calvin fired Army's top two scores this season in air rifle of 595 and 593 with Todaro claiming the next two (591 and 590), Matthews contributed a 589 with freshman Allen Solida also posting that mark this season. Army's season-high 2356 in air rifle bested its 2352 fired against Kentucky, currently ranked third.

Smallbore, which is Army's strongest gun, recorded its highest mark of 2325 against No. 1 ranked West Virginia during the fall with its second highest score of 2324 posted in a non-conference win over Murray State in the winter half of the schedule.

Todaro has the highest score this season in smallbore (586) with Matthews just a point behind (585). The underclassmen turned in the next highest scores with freshman Allen Solida posting a 581 and sophomore Alyssa Gestl firing a 580.

Fans unable to attend the match will be able to follow the action through live stats available on Army's website at www.goARMYsports.com. The link is accessible by navigating to the top of the rifle page where you can find the link for live scoring.

Next up for Army is the GARC Championships March 1-2 being hosted by Ole Miss.

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