NEW LONDON, Conn. -- The Bears opened the first half of the 2018-19 campaign at home for the first time this season as range renovations had the Coast Guard rifl team on the road. It was with some relief they found themselves competing in the friendly confines of the Chase Hall Range Complex as they hosted the first weekend of the annual Admiral's Cup Tournament.
Coast Guard faced off against the Privateers of the State University of New York Maritime Academy and got off to solid start, coming within seven points of the school record in smallbore. Freshman Bryce Sturtz was top scorer with a 570. Sophomores Grayson Wheeler, Seth Strayer and Hunter Blankenship backed him up with a 566, 564 and 563 respectively for a 2363. Team captain Marshall Grant shot a 555, for a personal best.
A full squad shot air rifle with sophomore Zara Burns and freshman T.J. Johnson, and Matthew Kim making their maiden appearances in varsity competition. It was a great performance by the team as sophomore Hunter Blankenship and Wheeler shot personal bests along with freshman Cody Meyers. The top four scorers were consistent ending up knotted up within two points of each other. Sturtz was high with a 585, Blankenship and Wheeler tied at 584, and Strayer rounded out the top four with a 583. The 2336 final score pushed the air rifle record up by 17 points.
The Coast Guard is unique among the U.S. military branches for having a maritime law enforcement mission which it clearly displayed by bringing the Privateers to bay by a score of 4599 to 4127. The aggregate score was also a new Academy record, 31 points higher than the previous mark.
The newest records mark a unique milestone in team history as the Bears have now established a new record in all six team events, in some cases multiple times, this season.
Coast Guard now stands 5-9 overall, while remaining undefeated in the Mid Atlantic Rifle Conference competition. The team next sees action on February 2 when they face off against the Bloodhounds of John Jay College, at home, as part of the second weekend of the Admiral's Cup Tournament.