ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- The Bears opened the 2017-18 campaign with a loss to 14th ranked DI Navy at Annapolis, 4643 to 4553. Despite the loss, the Bears shot very well against the Midshipman, breaking two Academy records, and mounting a serious assault on several others.
Veteran riflemen juniors Jacob Dupree, Randall Ford, Marshall Grant, and sophomore Dylan Lorence were bolstered by freshman Hunter Blankenship, Seth Strayer, and Grayson Wheeler as they broke the Academy Smallbore Four Man Team record, shooting a 2259, exceeding the old mark by ten points. Firing on the record breaking team was Ford posting a personal best of 570, Strayer, Wheeler, and Blankenship in their collegiate debuts, each firing a 567, 567, and 555 respectively.
Strayer opened kneeling with perfect 100 on his first string and was threatening the individual school record in that position but fell short of the 196 set by Charles Ressel '09 in 2008. His 100 was the only one shot by either school. Ford opened with a 100 prone, one of only three shot, and missed by one point tying the Academy record of 199 owned by Ressel and John Sloan '10.
Going into Air Rifle Coast Guard trailed the Midshipmen by 35 points but Navy slammed the door on a comeback with a 2349 to 2294. Strayer and Wheeler, who tied in Smallbore, tied once more in air with 576s. Dupree put up a personal best of 572 while Ford hung up a 570 to give the team a 2294, eight points shy of the Academy Air Rifle record.
The aggregate score of 4553 exceeded the school record by 28 points providing some soothing balm to the pain of a loss.
A good sized contingent of parents traveled to Annapolis to support the team and were pleasantly surprised to be joined by Rear Admiral Gordon Piché '64, the Assistant Superintendent of the Academy in the early 1990s, who lives locally. Piché's son is an Academy alumnus and his granddaughter is a member of the class of 2021.
The Bears will return to action with a return trip to Annapolis on November 4th to compete against sister academies Air Force, Army, and Navy in the Annual President's Cup Trophy Match.