WESTERN INTERCOLLEGIATE RIFLE CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP RECAP
March 12, 2022
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 12 teams from the Midwest and East Coast. Member schools include Bowling Green State University, Georgia Military College, 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 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 8363 points. The Akron Zips Rifle Club finished first with 8947.
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 9173, edging out second place Liberty 9068. GVSU finished in fifth place with 8669.
Awards are presented to the top five most improved shooters in both air rifle and smallbore. The award is determined by comparing the average of the four postal matches to the Championship match score using a handicap formula (1st and 2nd All Conference members excluded). The Lakers had a strong showing with three members earning recognition. Sophomore, Katheryn Karas (Carelton, Michigan) was the conference’s second most improved air rifle shooter. She posted a personal best score 560 (out of 600) in the Championship. Her regular season average was 540.0. Senior, Cassie Coulston-Gerigk (Wayne, Michigan), was the third most improved air rifle shooter. She posted a personal best score of 568, good for 10th in the Championship. She was also the top Laker air rifle shooter in the match. Her season average was 562.0. Senior, Alexander Straith (West Bloomfield, Michigan) was the fourth most improved air rifle shooter. He shot a 563 to finish 13th. His regular season average was 558.8.
Grand Valley was the most improved air rifle team with a 0.99% increase in their Championship score over their season average. Georgia Military College was the most improved smallbore team at 16.41%.
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 2244 (out of 2400). Liberty was second with a score of 2212. University of Michigan was third with 2143. The Lakers finished sixth with a score of 2045. Grand Valley was led by Coulston-Gerigk (530), Karas (523), Straith (524), and John Martin (469).
The Bernarde Trophy, named after 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 2286 (out of 2400). Michigan was second at 2256. Liberty was third with 2237. Grand Valley tied for sixth with a score of 2189. The Lakers were led by the afore mentioned most improved trio and Martin (498).
The Lakers are coached by seventh year Head Coach Cameron Zwart and Assistant Coach Leroy McCormick. Zwart was named WIRC Air Coach of the Year for the 2021-22 season.
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