NEWBERRY, Fla. - The Easton Foundations Gator Cup, the third of four USAT Qualifier Series Events for 2013, saw a record-breaking 310 archers take to the field for a 144 arrow qualification round today. Despite tricky winds and sizzling temps throughout, fan favorites stayed cool under mounting pressure.
Today's qualification round, which consisted of 144 arrows for cadet, junior and senior archers, also served as the qualification for the World Archery Championships - U.S. Team Trials. The top eight archers from the combined junior/senior rankings in each of the four major categories - recurve male, recurve female, compound female, compound male - will advance to Monday's Team Trials event.
Top qualifiers in the senior categories were Canada's Crispin Duenas for the recurve men; Miranda Leek in the recurve women's group; Braden Gellenthien in the compound men's category; and Erika Jones for the compound women.
Brady Ellison, Jake Kaminski, Joe Fanchin, Daniel McLaughlin, Jeremiah Cusick, Vic Wunderle, Jacob Wukie and Butch Johnson will all compete on a tough field for recurve men's spots on the World Archery Championships Team. They'll be joined in the Trials by Leek, Khatuna Lorig, Jennifer Hardy, Holly Stover, Mackenzie Brown, Michelle Gilbert, Ariel Gibilaro and Erin Mickelberry, all of whom were shooting strong today.
The competition will be equally tough for the compounders, with Gellenthien, Reo Wilde, Kendall Woody, Rodger Willett Jr., Steve Anderson, Bridger Deaton, Jesse Broadwater and Logan Wilde all shooting for berths on the men's team. Erika Jones, Carli Cochran, Tristan Skarvan, Sarah Lance, Gabrielle Cyr, Brogan Williams, KayLeigh Rogers and Samantha Neal will go head-to-head in hopes of punching their own tickets to the World Archery Championships.
Before the Team Trials event gets underway, there's still another day of Gator Cup competition to go, as archers are bracketed based on today's finishes to face one another in elimination rounds tomorrow. While senior and junior archers will go on to tomorrow's eliminations to decide the Gator Cup champions, today's qualification rounds also served as the major competitive event for cadet archers.
The winners in the cadet categories included Yuji Sugimoto, who won gold in the recurve cadet men's group, while Geun Kim and Dillon McMenamy earned silver and bronze, respectively. Eliana Claps, Stephanie Kim and Anna Miscione were the gold, silver and bronze medalists in the recurve cadet women's category.
For the cadet compound archers, Megan Petitt, Angelica Ramirez and Allie Canaday swept the top three spots in the women's group, earning gold, silver and bronze, respectively, while Chris Bee, Kolby Hanley and Corey Wright were the top three finishers for the cadet compound men's group.
To view complete results from this event, including live scoring during tomorrow's eliminations, visit http://ianseo.net/Details.php?toId=388 (seniors, juniors and recurve cadet men) and http://rcherz.com/en/competitions/detail/1594/Easton_Foundations_Gator_Cup___a_USAT_Qualifier_Series_Event (all other cadet categories).
USA Archery is covering the event live on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and photo albums from today's qualifications have been published to Facebook. Be sure to follow @usaarchery on Twitter throughout tomorrow's eliminations and Monday's Team Trials for up-to-the-minute results from the field.