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    November 8, 2021 Lynchburg, Va. RSS |

    Payton Peppard and fellow freshman sister Devin Peppard placed third and fourth among the Lady Flames in the air rifle event.

    Liberty University’s rifle team started the 2021-22 season with second-place showings in both the air rifle and smallbore rifle competitions of its Western Intercollegiate Rifle Conference (WIRC) postal matches in October, with the Flames and Lady Flames shooting from their range at the Liberty Mountain Gun Club.

    The air rifle team set a new team record with a combined score of 2,285 to finish two points behind first-place Akron University, paced by individual fourth- and fifth-place performances by junior Kristen Gagne (577) and freshman Claudia Weber (576), respectively, and 10th- and 20th-place totals (out of 81 competitors) from freshmen sisters Payton Peppard (573) and Devin Peppard (559).

    Liberty’s team score was 11 points higher than the previous best set in October 2019 and better than last month’s totals from Michigan (2,253), North Dakota State (2,248), Hillsdale (2,198), Grand Valley State (2,155), Georgia Military (2,132), and Michigan Tech (1,677).

    Three of those four Lady Flames also posted the top three scores in leading Liberty to a runner-up finish to Akron with 2,189 points in the smallbore rifle competition, with Gagne placing fifth individually with a 558 followed by Payton Peppard (seventh, 557), Weber (12th, 547), and sophomore Courtney Horn (24th, 528).

    In October 2019, Liberty set a team PR with 2,229 points in that event. It finished behind Akron’s 2,251 points, but ahead of teams from North Dakota State (2,115), Michigan (2,104), Purdue (2,092), Grand Valley State (2,072), Georgia Military (1,938), Michigan Tech (1,583), Bowling Green (1,057), and Wisconsin-Superior (379).

    “We were very excited to see more colleges able to compete this year since the pandemic,” Flames and Lady Flames Head Coach Marlene Gray said.

    The team is already in the midst of its November postal competitions, with results to be finalized in early December.