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May 28, 2017

2017 USAT Season Continues with Heated Excitement and New Faces on the Podiums

NEWBERRY, Florida - The second U.S. Archery Team series event of 2017 culminated today with individual elimination matches through the finals. Many upsets led to new faces on the podiums and the competition was heated and intense. Strong winds caused a bit of a leveling effect in the playing field and led to some surprising outcomes.

In the compound men's division, 16th seed Curtis Broadnax (Social Circle, Georgia) climbed his way to the gold, clinching the win over Braden Gellenthien (Hudson, Massachusetts) 140-137. Top seed Steve Anderson (Bountiful, Utah) fell in the 1/16th in a shoot off with Jared Laux (Lowell, Michigan). Second seeded Armless Archer Matt Stutzman (Stockport, Iowa) was also knocked out in a shoot off against eventual bronze medalist Alex Wifler (Crete, Illinois) in the quarterfinals.

For Broadnax, this was his first senior USAT gold finish. He was thrilled with the win and shared: "I was just thinking, 'don't give up any more points.' This win feels great and it sets me up feeling confident for the next ones."

LaNola Shepherd (Lehi, Utah) edged out Mackenzie Brown (Flint, Texas) for the recurve women's gold, and their third teammate who helped the trio win silver at the World Cup in Shanghai last weekend, Khatuna Lorig (Denver, Colorado), took the bronze in a shoot off win against Heather Koehl (Sheboygan, Wisconsin). 

Shepherd shared: "I'm taking it as it goes, I've had mental struggles with trusting my shot since Turkey and SoCal last year, so I've been trying to work through it; find my shot, find my confidence build my self back up, essentially starting from ground zero. That win in Shanghai definitely helped, I've got control, I came here and proved that I can still shoot, even when I am questioning everything. I'm still fighting through, still trying to figure myself out again, but doing this proves to myself that I haven't lost anything. I'm still the same strong shooter, and it was a lot of fun. Everyone shot well, so it was great to be able to match my best to everyone else's best."

The recurve men's final was a rematch of the semifinal at Arizona Cup between Brady Ellison (Globe, Arizona) and Canada's Crispin Duenas. This time, Ellison was the victor, taking the win in a one-arrow shoot off after coming back from a 5-1 deficit. Thomas Stanwood (XX) and Collin Klimitchek (Victoria, Texas) contested the bronze medal and Stanwood took the win 7-3. 

In the senior compound women's bracket, Paige Gore (Red Bluff, California), who qualified first for the Gator Cup and tomorrow's round robin matches for the two World Team Trials events, took the gold in a final match with Christie Colin (York, Pennsylvania). Breanna Theodore (Hibbing, Minnesota) and Lexi Keller (Omro, Wisconsin) battled for the bronze and Breanna took the final win 138-136. 

The cadet compound women rocked the competition today, shooting incredibly high scores, and in many matches, beating the scores of the cadet men, to much excitement on the field. Both the men's bronze and the women's gold finals were forced to one-arrow shoot offs. Hannah Bartos (Yankton, South Dakota), the women's gold finisher who just edged out Athena Caiopoulos (Irvine, California) commented: "The girls in our division have a really good friendship group; we all help each other, even if we want to win and beat someone we still want them to do their best. It was a hard day, so it was nice to finally take the gold."

The masters division, which continues to grow, made it's Gator Cup debut this weekend. Janis Grellner (Linn, Montana), who has led the recurve master women's competition for much of its recent existence in USAT events and took the gold today, shared: "Today we had a lot of wind, and you had to be more on focus and competition was very good. It's very enjoyable to shoot with this group of ladies, and ultimately focus was very, very important and I just worked to execute good shots. I'd also like to give a shout out to my coach, Larry Skinner, and thank him for all he's done for me to get to where I am today."

Complete results from today are available here. Tune in tomorrow for the World Archery Championships - U.S. Team Trials and World Games - U.S. Team Trials, Compound round robin matches. For more, follow USA Archery on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram

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