It was a rough weekend for the No. 11 NC State rifle team, as the usually dominant Wolfpack dropped two Great American Rifle Conference matchups in Annapolis, Maryland.
The Wolfpack (10-7, 3-5 GARC) fell to No. 8 Nebraska (4-4, 3-3 GARC) Saturday before dropping a close matchup with No. 15 Navy (3-3, 2-3 GARC), who hosted both matches Sunday. NC State was coming off big wins over Coast Guard and then-No. 11 Army on Jan. 15.
On Saturday, the Pack fell to the Cornhuskers despite putting together a season-high air rifle score of 2,362. However, NC State struggled mightily in the smallbore, shooting 2,293 compared to the Husker’s 2,321 to lead to a 4,670-4,655 overall defeat.
“Today was a tale of two events,” head coach Keith Miller told NC State Athletics. “Smallbore was rough for most of the team and air rifle was the best team total so far this season.”
Sophomore Kendra Jacobs and graduate Lauren Phillips led all shooters in air rifle, with Jacobs scoring an event-best 596 and Phillips right behind her with a 595. Sophomore Claire Zanti added the sixth-best score with a 588 and sophomore Zach Eisenberg’s 583 was tied for eighth.
Nebraska had the third, fourth and fifth-best shooters in the event, but came up short in air rifle as a team, 2,362-2,349; however, as good as the Pack was at air rifle, it was just as bad at smallbore.
The Cornhuskers had the top-five shooters in the event, led by Emily Cheramie’s 583, helping to push her to the top all-around score of 1,174 — two better than Jacobs and five better than Phillips.
Jacobs again led NC State in smallbore with a 576, followed by scores of 574 from both Phillips and Zanti. Eisenberg placed 11th in smallbore with a score of 567. He put together two perfect segments in the prone position, but struggled heavily both standing and kneeling.
“Consistency is a big focus for us,” Miller said. “We’ve bounced back and forth this season with a good day in smallbore or a good day in air rifle, but we need to have more days with solid performances in both guns.”
On Sunday, NC State dropped a tighter matchup with Navy, losing by just five points, 4,683-4,678. The Pack was much improved in the smallbore, shooting 31 points better than Saturday for a 2,324. Navy shot a 2,323 in smallbore, but was much better than the Pack in air rifle, winning that event 2,360-2,354.
Jacobs was again great, this time topping the leaderboard in both events as well as in all-around. She shot 586 in smallbore, 10 points better than her score Saturday, and a 594 in air rifle, which was tied for top score with Kestrel Kuhne and Torrance Kang of Navy.
Phillips was tied with Kuhne for the second-best score in smallbore, a 582, and was two points behind the leading trio in the air rifle. Junior Will Marciniak had his best event of the weekend in Sunday’s smallbore, shooting a sixth-place 580.
The Pack will now have the opportunity to rebound against nonconference foe Wofford on Feb. 4 before heading to an NCAA qualifier at West Virginia on Feb. 17.