Western Intercollegiate rifle Conference Championship Recap
February 27, 2023
JACKSON, MICHIGAN – The GVSU Rifle Club recently concluded the five-month Western Intercollegiate Rifle Conference (WIRC) season competing in the Conference Championship hosted by the University of Michigan at the Jackson County Sportsman’s Club. The conference is currently composed of 11 teams from the Midwest and East Coast. Member schools include Clemson University, Grand Valley State University, Hillsdale College, Liberty University, Michigan State University, Michigan Technological University, North Dakota State University, Purdue University, University of Akron, University of Michigan, and University of Wisconsin-Superior.
In the regular season, the schools compete in monthly postal matches. A postal match is a competition in which competitors fire separately on their home ranges and exchange scores. Five shooters are predesignated by each team with the top four individual scores contributing towards the overall team score. The matches consist of 60 shots in a three-position smallbore rifle and precision air rifle.
The Swanson Trophy, named after two-time Olympian and former President of the National Rifle Association the late Dr. Emmet O. Swanson, is presented to the highest-scoring smallbore team in the postal matches. The Lakers finished fifth with 6782 points. The Akron Zips Rifle Club finished first with 9047.
The Ranta Trophy, named after the late William T. Ranta, former Head Coach of the Lake Superior State University rifle team, is presented to the highest-scoring air rifle team in the postal matches. The award has been presented since 1985. The Akron Zips Rifle Club earned the award this season with a score of 9264. GVSU finished in fifth place with 7310.
The Wiles Trophy, named after the late Russell Wiles, an attorney from Chicago, Illinois, is awarded to the highest-scoring team at the Championship. The award has been presented since the 1930s. Akron earned the trophy with a score of 2276 (out of 2400). Liberty was second with a score of 2198. The University of Michigan was third with 2152. The Lakers finished sixth with a score of 1896. Grand Valley was led by Grayce Tappy (553), John Martin (455), Miranda Howell (444), and Mahmoud Salih (444).
The Bernarde Trophy, named after the former University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Head Coach Mark Bernarde is awarded to the highest-scoring air rifle team in the Championship match. The award has been presented since 1989. Akron won the award with a score of 2319 (out of 2400). Liberty was second at 2258. Michigan was third with 2245. Grand Valley was seventh with a score of 2010. The Laker's score included Tappy (584), Howell (513), Salih (468), and Martin (445). Tappy’s score was good for third overall in the match. It is the highest score and finishes by a GVSU competitor in the air rifle championship in school history.
Tappy added to her resume by earning second-team All-Conference in smallbore (549.2 average) and first-team All-Conference in air rifle (578.2 average). She becomes the first Laker to earn All-Conference honors since Christian Yap in the 2019-20 season.
The Lakers are coached by eighth-year Head Coach Cameron Zwart and Assistant Coach Leroy McCormick.
The mission of the GVSU Rifle & Pistol Club is to provide all students with the opportunity to participate in shooting sports, with an emphasis in three-position smallbore rifle, international air rifle, and air pistol. Regardless of skill or ability, all members can have a safe and enjoyable time interacting with fellow students and engaging in marksmanship. All equipment is provided, including guns, ammunition, and targets. The club meets Tuesdays from 3:00 PM – 7:00 PM and Thursdays 5:00 PM – 10:00 PM during the school year at the Grand Rapids Rifle & Pistol Club (1331 Nagel Ave SW, Wyoming). Practice attendance is not mandatory to be a member of the club; however, regular practice attendance is expected.
Please consider supporting the GVSU Rifle Club through a tax-deductible charitable contribution: https://www.gvsu.edu/giving/give-online2.htm?fundId=80818