VMI Rifle Has Season of Record-Breaking Performances

Among many of its strong performances in fall 2023, VMI rifle posted a record-breaking score of 4579 in a win over The Citadel.—Photo courtesy VMI Athletics.

The VMI rifle program had a busy fall, as the Keydets had some record-breaking performances before wrapping up competition for the semester Dec. 2, 2023.

The program set two new aggregate records, a smallbore record, and was nationally ranked for the first time in history. VMI, which is split into two teams—coed and women—opened up the season with top-tier competition, facing No. 1 Texas Christian University and No. 9 U.S. Naval Academy. The Keydets would have their home opener Oct. 14, posting a 4528 against No. 18 University of North Georgia.

VMI hit its stride a week later, posting a program-record 4579 aggregate score along with a smallbore record of 2266 in a resounding win over The Citadel.

VMI shot even better the next week, posting a 4581 aggregate against nationally ranked Georgia Southern University.

After competing against No. 20 University of Alabama at Birmingham, the Keydets closed out the season at Kilbourne Hall with 4561 in a win over Wofford College and John Jay College, while the women were second with 4430.

Three Earn CRCA Scholastic All-American Nods

The Collegiate Rifle Coaches Association announced the 2023–24 Scholastic All-Americans, with three VMI Keydets earning the honor—Kolton Dobson ’23, Cassidy Dufour ’23, and Maxine Gray-Barth ’24.

To be eligible for All-American status, the student-athlete must hold a 3.2 GPA for the full academic year.

Dobson was a reliable shooter in his senior year, competing in the smallbore all season while firing the air rifle in competition eight times. Dobson’s aggregate score of 1123 helped VMI top Wofford Nov. 12, before the King George, Virginia, native fired a season-high 1144 in a victory at Wofford just a few weeks later. The 1144 was boosted by a career-best 581 in the air rifle. Dobson graduated in May with a degree in English.

No stranger to academic excellence, Dufour graduated from the Institute in May with a degree in international studies. Serving as a team captain and de facto assistant coach, Dufour earned the Frank Summers Team Leadership Award. Competing mainly in the air rifle, Dufour shot smallbore three times, including a 543 in a team win over Wofford. Dufour was especially sharp in the air rifle, shooting 575 or better six times, including a season-best 581 against The Citadel and a 580 against North Carolina State.

A junior from Boca Raton, Florida, Gray-Barth competed eight times this past season for the Keydets. Gray-Barth, who is studying economics and business, recorded a 580 in the air rifle against highly touted North Georgia. Gray-Barth would surpass that mark later in the season when she shot a 584 Jan. 21, 2023, before closing the season with her highest aggregate of the year, posting a 1136 at the SoCon Championships.