The University of Akron competed against the Buckeyes and posted a team score of 4646.
The team will qualify for the NCAA Championships for the third consecutive year.
The NCAA Rifle National Championships selection process involves adding the qualifier score to a team’s 3 score average from the regular season. The schools with the top eight total scores across the NCAA will qualify for the NCAA Championships, hosted by the Citadel on March 9-10. Ohio State’s regular season three score average was 4696.33, making their total NCAA Qualification score 9355.33. This score places the Bucks at seventh in the country.
Coach Ryan Tanoue explains his thoughts about this year’s NCAA Championships, “The NCAA Championships are a whole different challenge from the regular season, and are something that we have been preparing for the entire year. The eight teams that will be competing have all performed fantastically throughout the season, and I have no doubt that it will be an incredible venue and atmosphere at The Citadel. For our team, we have an opportunity to start back at zero on a level playing field with all of the other teams and we are eager to have our chance to compete at the NCAA Championships.”
In smallbore, the team fired a score of 2293 led by a 577 from sophomore Jacob Buchanan. Freshman Elizabeth Dutton (574), senior Drew Cheezum (573), senior Josh Black (569) and sophomore Rhiann Travis (559) rounded out team scoring for Ohio State. Firing individually in his last match as a Buckeye, senior Mark Matheny posted a 561. Other individual shooters included sophomore Alli Kissell (576), freshman Paige Pruden (575), junior Brendan Whitaker (572), junior Michael Steinel (571), junior Quintin Wotring (570), freshman Jared Minor (564), freshman Mica Harr (564), junior Bailey Urbach (561), freshman Wynn Lekhavanija (559) and freshman Megan Wilcoxson (552).
In air rifle, the Buckeyes fired a team score of 2366 led by a career-high of 597 from Josh Black. Drew Cheezum (592), Rhiann Travis (590), Elizabeth Dutton (587) and Jacob Buchanan (586) rounded out team scoring. Mark Matheny led the way for the individuals with a 587, followed by Quintin Wotring (584), Bailey Urbach (583), Brendan Whitaker (580), Michael Steinel (580), Jared Minor (579), Mica Harr (575), Wynn Lekhavanija (574), Paige Pruden (571), Megan Wilcoxson (571) and Alli Kissell (565).
Coach Ryan Tanoue weighs in on the team’s qualifier performance, “The NCAA Qualifier is one of the biggest matches of the year for every team, and unfortunately we struggled in different areas to rise to that challenge. That said, the qualifier is only one part of the process, and when we add our qualifier score to our three score regular season average, we have accumulated enough points to qualify for the 2018 NCAA Rifle Championships which is a fantastic accomplishment for this team and our program.”
The Ohio State University Rifle Team has had a record breaking year. The team became the seventh team in history to shoot an aggregate score in the 4700s, posting a 4711 at TCU on January 21, 2018. The program also saw countless athletes shatter career records, which continued to propel the team.
Coach Tanoue reflects on the team’s performance this season, “In thinking about the season overall, it was a record breaking year and easily the highest performing our program has ever been. Top to bottom we saw really great performances from all members of the team throughout the year, and there is no doubt that the future is very bright for our team.”
The shooting Bucks have three very influential seniors on the roster with Josh Black, Drew Cheezum, and Mark Matheny. Drew holds two school records for highest smallbore aggregate (590) and highest individual aggregate (1181). All three are senior co-captains for this season, and have done a phenomenal job leading the team. Coach Tanoue explains his admiration for the three men, “The end of the regular season is always a bittersweet time for our seniors. I cannot say enough about what this senior class has done for our program, and I could not be more proud of all that they have and will continue to accomplish. The three of them came in from day one and were leaders of our team with their performance, academics, work ethic and attitude. Watching them compete together one last time was certainly a special moment for me and the team.”
Catch the Bucks back in action at the NCAA Championships in Charleston, SC on March 9. The official top eight teams will be officially announced this Wednesday, February 21 at 5 p.m. during the NCAA Selection Show. There will be a live stream of the Selection Show at https://www.ncaa.com/sports/rifle.