FAIRBANKS — Freshman Kellan McAferty and senior JT Schnering posted the highest smallbore scores for the Alaska Nanooks during Friday’s opening action of the NCAA Rifle Championships in Morgantown, West Virginia.
The Nanooks, with five shooters competing in the West Virginia University Coliseum, finished eighth Friday with a team total of 2,287.
Alaska entered the meet seeded eighth among eight teams.
McAferty, before a tournament-record audience of 1,200 in his first NCAA competition, shot 581 to place 12th overall in the smallbore.
The debut effort of the native of Littlerock, Washington, included a 193 in the kneeling portion, 198 prone and 190 standing. He also registered 33 center shots, or bullseyes.
Schnering, a former Lathrop High School standout, placed 20th Friday with a 579 total.
Junior Liam Eberhart, also a former Lathrop standout, recorded a 565 total for the third-highest finish for the Nanooks and 41st overall in the meet.
Robert Scott, a redshirt senior from Belgrade, Montana, contributed a 562 total for the Nanooks.
Texas Christian University’s Elizabeth Marsh captured the smallbore national championship with a 588 in the preliminary round before she compiled a 456.9 in the eight-shooter final.
Marsh and her Horned Frogs teammates lead the meet with a 2,331 total. West Virginia has the same score but the Mountaineers are in second place based on a tiebreaker.
The Kentucky Wildcats, last year’s NCAA team champions, are third with 2,322. The Murray State Racers, of Kentucky, hold fourth place (2,320), followed by the Air Force Falcons (2,319), Navy Midshipmen (2,298), Army Black Knights (2,298) and the Nanooks.
West Virginia and Alaska have the most NCAA rifle team championships in tournament history, with 19 for the Mountaineers and 10 for the Nanooks.
This weekend also marks a tournament-record 28th consecutive appearance for the Nanooks.
The NCAA tournament ends today with air rifle matches, which start at 6 a.m. AKST.
Contact News-Miner sports editor Danny Martin at 459-7586. Follow him on Twitter:@newsminersports.