Lauren Phillips

Lauren Phillips, a graduate shooter, concentrates while in the prone position during the rifle match against North Georgia University on Nov. 19, 2017 in Reynolds Coliseum. Phillips contributed 584 points during smallbore and 595 points during air rifle to the Wolfpack's aggregate score of 4650 for a win against North Georgia.

The No. 11 NC State rifle team is back in action this weekend at West Virginia University for the Great American Rifle Conference Championship.

The Great American Rifle Conference (GARC) Championship will be no easy task for the Pack. Last year, NC State finished fourth with a score of 4660 while No. 1 West Virginia took its eighth straight GARC title.

In this event, NC State was led by graduate Lauren Phillips, who placed third overall and won the individual smallbore championship. Phillips is having another great season and will hope to duplicate her success from last year.

NC State (11-7, 3-5 GARC) will compete against some of the top teams in the nation, including No. 15 Akron, No. 14 Army, No. 3 Kentucky, No. 13 Navy, No. 10 Nebraska, No. 8 Ole Miss, West Virginia and No. 16 Memphis. 

NC State has faced off against all the GARC teams this season, so the Pack is very familiar with the competition they will see in Morgantown, West Virginia. In the games against GARC teams this season, the team went 4-5 in total. They faced off against Nebraska twice (1-1), but only one counted as a conference match. 

The Wolfpack has wins against Nebraska, Memphis, Akron and Army, but it will need to show up big to get past the shots of the top teams, especially West Virginia, who the team lost to in the season opener back in September.

Facing top rifle powerhouses such as West Virginia and Kentucky, the Pack will need full contributions from everyone. Outside of Phillips, NC State has been led by sophomores Kendra Jacobs and Zach Eisenberg. Both young shooters are capable of putting up high scores and will need to be strong this weekend to put the Pack in contention.

The Pack just finished up the NCAA Qualifier Match last Saturday at West Virginia where the team shot an aggregate score of 4632 in hopes to make the NCAA Championships on March 9-10. 

The conference was created for schools with rifle programs that were not sponsored by their home conference (ACC). NC State joined in 2007 and is still searching for its first GARC Championship. The tournament starts on Friday and will run through Sunday.