UNG wins smallbore on day 1 of Rifle Championship
Courtesy: Southern Conference
Release: 03/04/2017
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CHARLESTON, S.C. – North Georgia fired a team score of 2270 to win the team smallbore title and Nighthawks junior Ruthanne Conner won the individual title and Smallbore Athlete of the Year honors on the first day of the Southern Conference Rifle Championship at The Citadel’s Inouye Marksmanship Center on Saturday.

The tournament concludes Sunday with the air rifle competition. The SoCon will crown team air rifle and overall champions as well as an air rifle individual champion.

In the league’s first rifle championship since 1985, North Georgia put all four of its scorers in the individual smallbore final, which featured the top eight shooters after three relays determined the team scores.

UNG finished comfortably ahead of runner-up VMI, which turned in a team score of 2234. Georgia Southern was in third with 2201, followed by The Citadel with 2191, Wofford at 2171, The Citadel’s women’s squad at 2139, VMI’s women at 2138 and UAB, which does not usually field a smallbore team, at 2110.

Conner led the way for UNG with a season-best 576 in the relay portion, with teammate Andrew Abernathy third with a season-best 569, Tobin Sanctuary tied for fourth at 568 and Brianna Shaw tied for eighth at 557 to account for the 2270 team score. Shaw advanced to the individual final via tiebreaker over GSU’s Courtney Weekley.

Wofford’s Cierra Holcombe (570), UAB’s Selina Curren (568) and VMI’s Andrew Hickey (563) and William Davidson (562) also advanced to the individual final, which eliminates two competitors after 40 shots and one more after each additional shot until just the champion remains.

UNG swept the top three spots in the final, with Conner claiming first place with a score of 449.4 to edge Sanctuary (447.2). Abernathy was a distant third at 428.6, followed by Hickey (417.5), Holcombe (407.8), Curren (397.6), Shaw (379.8) and Davidson (377.5).

Conner’s relay finish clinched the inaugural SoCon Smallbore Athlete of the Year award for the Colville, Washington, native. The award is determined by averaging league shooters’ top three regular-season finishes, each from different locations, with their championship scores.

North Georgia’s Conner, Sanctuary and Abernathy, VMI’s Hickey and Wofford’s Holcombe earned first-team All-SoCon honors, while UAB’s Curren, UNG’s Shaw, VMI’s Davidson, GSU’s Weekley and UAB’s Lilly Vonderau took second-team distinction.

Sunday’s air rifle competition gets underway at 8:30 a.m. with preparation and sighting, followed by the first relay at 8:45.

Smallbore team scores
1. North Georgia           2270
2. VMI                         2234
3. Georgia Southern      2201
4. The Citadel              2191
5. Wofford                     2171
6. The Citadel-W            2139
7. VMI-W                      2138
8. UAB                          2110

Smallbore individual final
1. Ruthanne Conner, UNG    449.4
2. Tobin Sanctuary, UNG      447.2
3. Andrew Abernathy, UNG   428.6
4. Andrew Hickey, VMI        417.5
5. Cierra Holcombe, WOF    407.8
6. Selina Curren, UAB        397.6
7. Brianna Shaw, UNG        379.8
8. William Davidson, VMI    377.5

Smallbore Athlete of the Year
Ruthanne Conner, North Georgia

All-Southern Conference Smallbore
First team
Andrew Abernathy, North Georgia
Ruthanne Conner, North Georgia
Tobin Sanctuary, North Georgia
Andrew Hickey, VMI
Cierra Holcombe, Wofford

Second team
Selina Curren, UAB
Lilly Vonderau, UAB
Courtney Weekley, Georgia Southern
Brianna Shaw, North Georgia
William Davidson, VMI

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