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The South Dakota Cup, held at the Easton Archery Center in Yankton, SD concluded this morning, with USA Archery Resident Athlete Kristin Braun (CA) taking her first gold medal in a 2010 USA Archery national event. She was joined on the podium this morning by Olympian Brady Ellison (CA), Rodger Willett, Jr. (VA) and Jamie Van Natta (OH).
A Jr./Sr. United States Archery Team qualifying event, the tournament opened yesterday with a 72 arrow qualification round shot at 70 meters. Recurve men and compound women took to the field under clear skies, with winds picking up steadily throughout the first 36 arrows. Ellison led the recurve men during the first half with a 337; fellow Resident Athlete Jacob Wukie (CA) stayed close behind with 335, and Olympian Butch Johnson (CT) rounded out the group with a 330. With the wind picking up steadily during the second 36 arrows, the top three came within one point of one another, with Johnson leading the pack; however, Ellison's initial high scores kept him securely in the top spot with 662, while Wukie qualified second at 661 and Johnson third with his 657. Forrest Blakely, the only junior men's recurve archer, scored a 628.
The compound women experienced similar movement in their ranks during the morning, which many competitors attributed to the wind. Jamie Van Natta's first 36 arrows flew well enough to score her a strong 348, while Diane Johnston and Diane Watson shot matching 340's. Though Van Natta never relinquished first place during the back half, Johnston, Watson and Sally Seipp all vied for the second and third spots with very close scores. Ultimately, Van Natta qualified first, shooting a 683; Johnston followed with a 668, while Watson took third, scoring a 665. Tristan Skarvan led the junior women's compound group, shooting a strong 667; Sarah Lance earned the second place rank, scoring 649, while Amber Christensen followed with a 633.
The afternoon brought competitors from the women's recurve and men's compound classes to the field. Erin Mickelberry came out strong for the first half, leading by 14 points with a 302; Kristin Braun and Brandi Mantha rounded out the top three with a 288 and 279, respectively. Though Braun shot well enough to lead the group during the back half, Mickelberry retained her lead and ultimately ranked first with 602. Braun finished at a 591, while Mantha qualified third, shooting a 540. The junior women's group was led by Emily Blake, shooting a 561; Lauren Hughes scored well enough to take the number two spot with 549, while Rachael Trafford's 543 secured third place.
For the compound men, Jody Pletan and Braden Gellenthien continuously fought for the top spot, besting each other by one point or tying several times throughout the round. Pletan and Gellenthien were tied by the half with a pair of 343's, followed closely by Rodger Willett, Jr. with a 339. Pletan ultimately shot well enough on the second 36 to edge out Gellenthien by seven points, scoring 683 to Gellenthien's 668 and Willett's 665. For the junior men, Henry Bass moved into first place early on and never looked back, eventually qualifying first, shooting a 666. Levi Cyr and Dan Norby took second and third, scoring 662 and 644, respectively.
Cadet archers also shot a 72 arrow round on Saturday, which was the sole determining factor for placement in the tournament. Jeremiah Cusick was the ultimate winner for the cadet recurve men's division with 570 - he was followed closely by Zachary Bisinger, 568, and Sean Curtin, who scored a 567. For the cadet recurve women, Heather Trafford led the pack with 606; Alexis Drake qualified second at 566, and Ariel Gibilaro took third, 562. On the compound men's side, Bridger Deaton established a commanding lead early on, ultimately taking first with 676; Christopher Bee secured second with his 644, while Brett Eggers rounded out the group at 637. There were just two competitors in the cadet compound women's group: Emily Bee, ultimately scoring a 639 to win first place, and Gabrielle Cyr in second with her 633.
Sunday morning saw competitors arrive under clear skies with breezy conditions to begin the day's elimination rounds. All divisions began with 1/8 eliminations, and the field was rapidly narrowed, with few tiebreaks necessary to determine winners. The recurve men's semifinal matches saw a decisive victory for Ellison over fellow Olympian Vic Wunderle, and a 7-3 decision for Wukie over Johnson, pitting Ellison and Wukie against one another for the gold, and positioning Wunderle and Johnson to compete for bronze. On the women's side, there was a tie in the semifinal match between Trafford and Mickelberry; Trafford took the tiebreaker to advance to the gold medal match against Braun, while Mickelberry and Blake would vie for the bronze.
For the compound men, fourth-ranked Duane Price shot well enough to advance to the semifinal matches, where he defeated Cyr to move on to the gold medal match; the semifinals also saw a 6-2 decision for Willett over Gellenthien. For the women, juniors Lance and Skarvan faced one another, where Lance took the match in a 6-0 shutout; Van Natta faced fourth-ranked Seipp, whom she defeated 7-3 to advance to the gold medal round against Lance, while Seipp and Skarvan would shoot for bronze.
Winning three consecutive sets, Ellison ultimately took the gold for the men's recurve group, with Wukie winning silver. Wunderle won the bronze with a 7-1 victory against Johnson. The recurve women's bronze match saw a similar decision, with Blake taking the bronze 6-2 in her match against Mickelberry. Braun and Trafford competed for five sets; Braun clinched the gold with a 7-3 decision, with Trafford taking the silver. Gellenthien won the bronze medal for men's compound in three sets against Cyr, 6-0, while there was a closer contest in the gold medal match between Willett and Price. Willett eventually took three sets to win the gold to Price's silver, 7-3. For the women, Van Natta won a 6-0 decision over Lance in the gold medal match, while Seipp and Skarvan tied the bronze match after five sets; Skarvan took the bronze following a one arrow shoot-off.
Click here for complete results from the South Dakota Cup.
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