Rifle knocks off No. 1 West Virginia for conference title

Mechanical engineering freshman Jonathan Pinkel of the UK Rifle Team practices at Barker Hall in Lexington, Ky., on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2011. Photo by Tessa Lighty | Staff

Staff report | @KYKernelSports

sports@kykernel.com

The UK rifle team defeated No. 1 West Virginia 4704 – 4695 Saturday to complete a perfect 6-0 conference season and claim the Great American Rifle Conference regular season title. The win marks UK’s third straight conference title and sixth all-time in program history.

“We are very happy for our team today,” UK head coach Harry Mullins told UK athletics. “They have worked incredibly hard to get to this point and I think this is a great way to enter into the postseason. It’s always exciting when you take home the regular season title in a conference as competitive as the GARC.”

The Cats and Mountaineers finished the Prone segment of competition tied at 791. Strong shooting from junior Aaron Holsopple and freshman Connor Davis helped UK take a lead in Standing, jumping 12 points on West Virginia to give UK a 1567 – 1545 lead entering Kneeling, where UK added six points to its lead.

Holsopple scored a personal best 588 in smallbore to give the Cats a 2343 – 2325 lead going into air rifle.

UK and WVU matched each other through the first 20 shots in air rifle, both sitting at 787 with the Cats holding an 18-point lead. The Mountaineers cut the lead to nine through the next 20 shots, but couldn’t complete the comeback.

UK will take two weeks off before traveling to Oxford, Miss. for the GARC championships, where they will face a rematch with WVU.