Lauren Phillips

Lauren Phillips, a graduate student studying social work, reloads her air rifle during the individual air rifle elimination tournament during the NC State rifle match against West Virginia on Oct. 15 in Reynolds Coliseum. The Wolfpack lost to the Mountaineers during the tournament with a score of 15-21.

The NC State rifle team, fresh off one of its best seasons in program history, will begin this year as the ninth-ranked team in the nation hoping to climb into the top eight and qualify for the NCAA tournament.

Returning for her graduate season, Lauren Phillips will be the leader of the team coming off a year where she won the individual smallbore title and received All-American status from both the Collegiate Rifle Coaches Association and the National Rifle Association. Phillips was one of two members of the team last year to go to the NCAA Championships individually.

Sophomore Kendra Jacobs transferred from the Air Force Academy and will join the Pack this year. She helped set an Air Force team record last year. Jacobs has a share for the national junior record in the four-position BB gun competition at the NRA. Jacobs could be a major component to helping the Pack fill the hole left by Olympian and six-time All-American Lucas Kozeniesky who graduated in May.   

Senior Derya Pekari has appeared in 40 matches in her collegiate career so far. She fired a season-high score of 588 in the air rifle event in the season opener against top-ranked West Virginia and achieved that mark again versus Akron at The Citadel. Pekari was on the All-SEARC team in 2016. Last year Pekari was a member of the Wolfpack’s air rifle counting lineup in 11 matches and smallbore nine times.

Junior Will Marciniak appeared in all 14 matches for the Pack and was also in the smallbore counting lineup in all 14 matches. Marciniak has a career best in smallbore with a score of 580 against Ole Miss last year and has a personal best of 582 in the air rifle at an NCAA qualifier. As a freshman, Marciniak claimed the men’s air rifle title in the B class at the USA Shooting Championships.

Sophomore Zach Eisenberg appeared in all 14 matches of the Pack’s games last season and was in the air rifle counting lineup in four matchups. 

Junior Tyler Lefebvre has shot in 17 total matches for the Pack and had a career-best last year against The Citadel and Navy with a score of 578.

Sophomore Claire Zanti is entering her second year with the rifle team after appearing in 12 matches as a freshman.

Junior Claire Spina appeared in just five matches last year but notched a career-best 579 in the air rifle competition against The Citadel. 

NC State opens the season in the same manner it did a year ago, by facing the top-ranked West Virginia Mountaineers in a GARC matchup. The event will be held Saturday at The Citadel's Rifle Range. Joining the Pack and Bulldogs at the season-opening match are North Georgia and Ohio State.