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One to Watch: Ginny Thrasher

Big freshman season set the stage for Rio

Name: Ginny Thrasher 
School: West Virginia University
Sport: Shooting (women's 10-meter air rifle)   

Ginny Thrasher is still fairly new to the sport of shooting with less than five years of experience. A native to Springfield, Virginia, Thrasher became enamored with the sport after going on a hunting trip with her grandfather, father and two older brothers. She joined West Springfield High School's air rifle team shortly thereafter. In 2015, Thrasher enrolled at West Virginia University, whose rifle team has won 18 NCAA championships. The engineering major won the 2016 NCAA individual championship titles in smallbore and air rifle as a freshman, leading the Mountaineers to their fourth straight NCAA team championship. Less than a month later, Thrasher secured her spot on Team USA by winning the smallbore event in the U.S. Olympic Trials.   

When to watch: The women's 10-meter air rifle final starts at 9:30 a.m. Eastern time Saturday and will be streamed live on the NBC Sports app.   

Why we're cheering: Thrasher’s breakout freshman season – during which she shot alongside four Mountaineers seniors at the NCAA championships – set the table for an even bigger opportunity in Rio. At just 19 years old, Thrasher will become the third West Virginia female student-athlete to qualify for the Olympics.  


Others to watch Saturday
  • Danielle Page (women's basketball, Serbia): Page graduated from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, with a degree in communications in 2008 and was drafted by the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun. She played with the Sun for one season before leaving to play basketball overseas. Page became a Serbian citizen in 2015 and learned the Serbian national anthem to prove her commitment to her new country.   
  • Simone Manuel (swimming, 4x100-meter free relay, USA): The Stanford University junior will be a rookie at the 2016 Olympics. Manuel was the 2015 NCAA champion in the 50-yard freestyle and 100-yard freestyle.  
  • Tony Azevedo (water polo, USA):  The current team captain for the USA Water Polo team is a seasoned veteran who understands the pressures and expectations of competing in Rio. The Stanford University graduate is now a five-time Olympian who started his Olympic career in Athens, Greece, during the 2004 Olympics. Azevedo won the Peter J. Cutino, the American Water Polo Coaches Association and the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Player of the Year Awards in four straight seasons while finishing his Stanford career as the school’s all-time leading scorer.