FAIRBANKS — The Alaska Nanooks took a big step forward in defeating the University of Texas El Paso in its first home match of the season Saturday at the E.F. Horton Range in the Patty Center.
The seventh-ranked Nanooks easily outshot the Miners 4,664-4,467 in the match. Alaska won the smallbore event 2,313-2,204 and the air rifle competition 2,351-2,263.
It was a marked improvement in the Nanooks performance on their season-opening road trip to Nebraska where they defeated North Carolina State, then lost a tie-breaker to the Cornhuskers.
The Nanooks’ scoring shooters in the smallbore match were all between 576 out of 600 and 579.
Sophomore Mats Eriksson of Sweden and junior Mike Liuzza from New Orleans led the Nanooks with 579s, followed by sophomore Ryan Anderson of Great Falls, Va., with a 578, freshman Soren Butler from Casselton, N.D., with a 577 and senior Cole Bures from Odell, Neb., with a 576.
Jennifer Armendariz was the top shooter for UTEP with a 574.
Three of Alaska’s air rifle shooters had scores of 588 or better.
Eriksson led the way with a 590. Freshman Tim Sherry of Mountain Ranch, Colo., posted a 589 and Anderson notched a 588. Rounding out the scoring Nanooks were Bures with a 584 and Butler with a 579.
Liuzza, who was not one of the scoring Nanooks Saturday, tied Eriksson with a 590.
Armendariz was the top air rifle shooter for the Miners with a 583.
The Nanooks return to the range on Nov. 17-18 when West Virginia visits the Patty Center. It will be the first time the Mountaineers make an appearance in Fairbanks.
West Virginia is the only school to have won more national championships than Alaska.