FAIRBANKS — The Alaska Nanooks rifle team continues a streak when it takes aim today at the targets for the NCAA Championships in the WVU Coliseum in Morgantown, West Virginia.
The Nanooks also are hoping to earn their 11th team championship in the two-day tournament on the West Virginia University campus.
The Nanooks, seven other teams and eight shooters who are not on teams which qualified for the NCAA meet are competing in smallbore matches, starting at 5:45 a.m. AKST today. The format changes to air rifle competition at 6 a.m. AKST Friday.
The Nanooks, seeded eighth in this year’s tournament, own a record of 28 consecutive appearances in the NCAA Championships. The Nanooks have competed in the national meet since 1991.
Alaska also possesses 10 team championship trophies, the second most in the NCAA rifle meet.
The first title effort occurred in 1994, and it was followed by championship celebrations in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2008.
The Nanooks were NCAA runners-up seven times — 1991, 1992, 1993, 1998, 2010, 2014 and 2015.
West Virginia, seeded third in this year’s tournament, holds the NCAA record of 19 team championships, including five in a row from 2013-17.
The Nanooks will be represented this weekend in the WVU Coliseum by five shooters — senior JT Schnering, redshirt senior Robert Scott, junior Liam Eberhart, sophomore Haley Castillo and freshman Kellan McAferty.
Schnering, a former Lathrop High School standout, shot a season-best smallbore score of 585 and posted a career-high 597 in air rifle this season.
Castillo, from Albuquerque, New Mexico, recorded a 576 in smallbore this season to tie her career high and shot a career-best 597 for air rifle.
Eberhart’s top smallbore score this season was 585 and the former Lathrop standout shot 588 in air rifle to tie his career best.
McAferty, from Littlerock, Washington, had season and career highs of 588 in smallbore and 597 in air rifle during his collegiate debut.
Scott tied his career best in smallbore with a 577 this season and the native of Belgrade, Montana registered a season-best 593 for air rifle.
The other teams in this year’s NCAA meet are top-seed Texas Christian University, second-seeded and defending national champion Kentucky, fourth-seeded Air Force, fifth-seeded Kentucky’s Murray State, sixth-seeded Navy and seventh-seeded Army.
Contact News-Miner sports editor Danny Martin at 459-7586. Follow him on Twitter:@newsminersports.