Bears Fall to National Powers TCU and Ohio State

Grayson Wheeler
Grayson Wheeler

FORT WORTH, Texas -- Coast Guard spent the weekend deep in the heart of Texas at Texas Christian University competing against the second and sixth best collegiate rifle teams in the nation, the Horned Frogs of TCU and The Ohio State University Buckeyes. Air Force was on the schedule, but the Falcons were unable to attend because of the government shutdown.

Hot off a record setting weekend at Army, the Bears were again facing tough DI competition and came tantalizingly close to establishing some personal bests as well as breaking the Academy smallbore rifle record of 2264 set just six days earlier.

Freshmen set the tone as Grayson Wheeler equaled her personal best, leading the Bears with a 572. Classmate Seth Strayer missed tying his personal best by a point when he posted a 569. Hunter Blankenship, the third leg of the freshmen scoring triad, put up a 566 as junior Randal Ford's 553 gave the team a 2261, three points off the record.

Strayer was top Bear in air rifle with a 574. Blankenship drafted behind the leader shooting a 571. Wheeler put together a 567 over the 60-shot event while Ford had a solid 560 to complete a 2279 effort.

The aggregate score 4540 was the team's second-best score ever recorded by the Bears' rifle team, but not enough to overcome TCU's 4716, and Ohio State's 4693.

Facing Ohio State on Sunday the Bears effort in smallbore fell one point shy of the Academy record. Wheeler posted a 569 while Blankenship and Strayer were knotted at 568. Ford shot a 558 to give the Academy a 2263. Strayer's 575 was high score for Coast Guard.  Ford, 565, Blankenship, 563, and Wheeler 562 helped combine for a 2265 and a 4528 aggregate. Ohio State finished with a new school record of 4711 to take the day.

The Bears, now 3-13 on the season,  but undefeated in the conference play, have a week off before facing returning to conference play against John Jay and Wentworth at home.