Feb. 21, 2013
WEST POINT, N.Y. -
Just a few days after earning its 10th straight NCAA berth, Army's rifle team opens its postseason run this weekend at the Great America Rifle Conference (GARC) Championships being hosted by Ole Miss at the Patricia C. Lamar National Guard Readiness Center in Oxford, Miss.
Competition starts Friday with individual smallbore at noon. Saturday will feature team smallbore beginning at 7 a.m., with the finals at 5:30 p.m. The championships conclude Sunday with air rifle at 8 a.m. followed by the air finals at 12:45 p.m.
The sixth-ranked Black Knights (10-3, 4-2 GARC) are one of four GARC teams to earn a bid to the NCAAs to include No. 1 West Virginia, No. 2 Kentucky and No. 7 Nebraska.
Army finished third in the GARC's regular-season standings with its lone two losses against the Mountaineers and the Wildcats. Kentucky went on to capture its third consecutive GARC regular-season title with a 6-0 mark followed by defending champion West Virginia (5-1) and the Black Knights (4-2).
The GARC Championships follow the same format at the NCAA Championships starting with smallbore competition Saturday and air rifle on Sunday. Live scoring will be available on Mississippi's website at olemisssports.com.
The Black Knights head into the meet as the defending smallbore champions after edging West Virginia at last year's GARC Championships by three points firing a 2318.
Three members of that squad return in senior William Mengon and juniors Michael Matthews and Joseph Todaro. Matthews was among the top eight to qualify for the individual finals after besting three others, including Todaro, in the shoot off for that final spot after being tied with 579s.
Matthews shot the second-highest mark in the finals (101.6) to finish fifth with a 680.6. Matthews and Todaro earned All-GARC second-team honors with Mengon receiving honorable mention.
Army did not fare as well in air rifle the final day as the team posted a 2335 to finish fifth with a 4653 composite. Also back from that team are Calvin (second team All-GARC last year), Matthews and junior Zachary Wells.
The Black Knights have ranked among the top teams in the country the past several years in smallbore, but that discipline has had its ups and downs this year. Army however has shined in air rifle, tying the school mark with a 2357 in January.
Army's top aggregate mark is a 4675, and its NCAA Qualifier score was a 4666 to head into the GARC Championships showing a 4663 average. West Virginia is sporting a 4716 average and Kentucky is next with a 4702.33.
Calvin has been Army's top scorer in air rifle and Matthews has been the team's leader in smallbore.