COLUMBUS, Ohio - West Virginia University senior Petra Zublasing shot 688.3 and won the 2013 NCAA smallbore title Friday in the NCAA rifle championships at Ohio State.
The No. 1-ranked WVU rifle team shot 2316 smallbore and sits in third place after the team competition.
The Mountaineers (11-1, 5-1 GARC) are only one shot short of first place, as No. 3 TCU won smallbore with a 2317 score. WVU is tied with No. 4 Alaska-Fairbanks, though the Nanooks are ahead of the Mountaineers in the standings, due to a 114-104 center-shot advantage. No. 2 Kentucky sits in fourth with a 2315 score.
Only nine shots separate the top six teams after Friday's smallbore competition.
"Our score isn't what we wanted today, but we're right in the thick of things after day one, and that's where everyone wants to be at this championship," says Mountaineer coach Jon Hammond. "It's a relief to know that tomorrow is a new day and we can start again, but I have no idea what to expect. I think we just have to focus on ourselves again and shoot the best match we can. It's probably going to be a bit of a grind, but we need to be self-focused. We're confident in air gun, but all of the teams are tight. Tomorrow's competition is what the NCAA championships is all about."
Zublasing, an Appiano, Italy native, won her second national title in as many seasons, as she is the defending NCAA air rifle champion. She is the first shooter to win an NCAA title in both disciplines since Alaska-Fairbanks' Jamie Beyerle won the air rifle title in 2003 and the smallbore title in 2006. Zublasing is the first Mountaineer to win an NCAA title in both disciplines.
With Friday's victory, 16 student-athletes from the WVU rifle program have won 21 NCAA individual titles.
Zublasing is the first Mountaineer to claim the smallbore title since Marco Scrivner won the championship in 1997.
"It feels weird to win," says Zublasing. "My last five shots in the final weren't so good, but I did better than everyone else, and that's all that matters. I didn't expect this; I just wanted to shoot well today. I couldn't control what everyone else shot. Everyone struggled a little bit today, so it made for a close competition in the final, which was nice. I did my best. There's only one shot I could have changed.
Zublasing entered the final in second place. Though she was tied with UK's Henri Junghanel with a 589 (197 prone, 194 standing, 198 kneeling) relay mark, Junghanel owned the edge moving into the final with a 36-35 center-shot advantage. Zublasing took the title with a 99.3 total in the 10-shot final.
Junghanel finished second with a 687.8 score, shooting 98.8 in the final, while TCU's Sarah Scherer placed third with a 686.7 score (588, 98.7).
The championships will conclude today with air rifle. First shot from OSU's French Field House is scheduled for 8 a.m., with individual finals set for 1:45 p.m.