Rifle is MAC ChampionBy Lynn Albers
The varsity rifle team captured the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Conference Championship at the U.S. Naval Academy on March 6. A narrow margin of nine points was the difference, with MIT scoring 2,174 points to Depaul University's 2,165.
After the first two stages of the match, Depaul had an eight point advantage, but there was no indication of panic or concern on the faces of the Engineers. "You don't want to be only six or eight points ahead of us going into the final stage of firing," said Coach Richard Dyer, "because we'll beat you. We're a good shooting team in the kneeling stage of fire, and it's won numerous matches for us this past season."
As he has done in every match, Arte Merritt '95 led the charge for MIT, scoring 569 points. Close on his heels was team Captain Dorian Balch '94, with 566 points. Rounding out the designated team scoring were Miguel Perales '93 and Kai Chiang '93 scoring 527 and 512 points respectively. It was a doubly sweet victory for Perales and Chiang, because after participating in the sport for four years, they're bowing out as champions. Also competing for MIT were Ting Wu '93, George Hadjiyiannis '94, and Chris Sarton '96.
The Engineers did not fare as well in the air rifle championship, falling to Depaul 1,479-1,426, and settling for the second place trophy.
The team is upbeat and optimistic for the next season because of its strong performance this season -- the first season it qualified for the championship since 1987. "We've come a long way in four years," Dyer said, "and we feel that we've established the base for continued success in the coming years."
"We're losing two of our shooters to graduation, but some of this year's freshmen will be definite contributors next season. Some of the Division I schools are taking a closer look at MIT. We're not the pushovers we were five or six years ago," Dyer continued.