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Navy End Nine Year Slide To Take Rifle Star

WEST POINT, N.Y. – The ninth-ranked Navy rifle team (9-5, 5-3 Great American Rifle Conference) beat Army (4-7, 3-5 GARC) in the Star Match for the first time since 2009 after beating the Black Knights on Saturday, 5,846-5,822.
Along with beating Army for the Star, the Midshipmen set a new season high in NCAA scoring with four counting scores totaling 4,680 points and season best in smallbore at 2,322.
"I am so proud of the entire team," head coach Mike Anti said after the match. "Everyone shot well with a few personal bests. Everyone contributed to this win. Our team captain Josh Watson did a great job all day -- and all season -- keeping the team focused on the mission. Josh also led the team to victory, posting the highest score in smallbore and a season-best in air rifle.
"Kestrel Kuhne also had a great day with a 582 in smallbore and a match-winning score of 594 in air rifle. Again, I am so very proud of our team and their commitment never wavered. It is time for us to start our win streak."
The Midshipmen got off to a strong start in the race for the Star as they took a 2,898-2,879 lead after smallbore. Josh Watson(Sr., Enterprise, Ala.) posted the top score in the field with a 584 in the event. Kestrel Kuhne (Jr. Everett, Pa.) also broke the 580 mark with a 582 as the Navy duo had the top two smallbore scores in the field. 
Michael Zanti (Fr., Norfolk, Va.) just missed shooting a 580 after he fired a 579 for Navy. The final two counting scores in the Star Match came from Daniel Enger (So., Walla Walla, Wash.) and Torrance Kang (So., Columbia, Md.) with scores of 577 and 576, respectively. All eight of Navy's starters for Star scoring broke 570 after Mark Amdahl (Fr., Albuquerque, N.M.), Lucas Figi (Jr., Bozeman, Mont.) and Gabriella Mayes (Fr., Rio Rancho, N.M.) all recorded 572s.
Army was led by Payne Nunn and Clayton Hanson in smallbore as they each tied Kuhne with matching scores of 582. In NCAA scoring – where only five start and four scores count -- Navy also held the edge over Army after smallbore, 2,322-2,308.
As the starters for both teams transitioned to air rifle, the Midshipmen continued its strong outing and outscored the Black Knights once again, 2,948-2,943. For the second time on the day, Navy had the highest shooter in a discipline. Kuhne led the field with a 594 in air rifle, which was one point away from her career best. Zanti was just three points behind with a 591 to set a new personal best. Watson and Enger narrowly missed 590s with matching 588s. Kang posted the final counting score for the Star at 587.
Nunn and Kaitlyn Kutz led Army in air rifle with a 592 and 591, respectively. Along with securing a Star victory, Navy also posted its season-best score in smallbore and aggregate scoring for the NCAA qualification at 2,322 and 4,680, respectively.
Following the results from the four Star Matches on Saturday, Army and Navy are still tied in the Army-Navy Star Series, presented by USAA, 7-7, after the Midshipmen won Stars in rifle and men's gymnastics and the Black Knights earned wins in men's and women's track & field.
Navy now returns home for the first time in 2019 to host John Jay in an NCAA Qualifier Match on Feb. 16 at the Bancroft HallRifle Range.