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DUBLIN, Ohio - The first Buckeye Classic is in the books with great success as the 2016 U.S. Archery Team (USAT) Event Series comes to a wrap and solidifies national rankings.
Finishing on top of the senior compound men's podium for his first USAT gold, Bridger Deaton commented: "I needed a good tournament more for the USAT rankings towards the end of the year to make it back on the World Cup circuit for 2017, so to be able to come away with not only a good tournament but a podium finish is pretty cool. This is the first USAT qualifier that I've actually won in the five or six years I've been shooting these so it's nice to have the first one for the Buckeye Classic also be the first one for me."
Erika Jones, who has been on top of the podium many times in a long and successful career was absent from the USAT circuit last year. In the gold final she faced Crystal Gauvin and took the win in a close match. "I knew Crystal was going to shoot well so I just focused on one arrow at a time. The weather, there's no wind, it's kind of a sauna, but you can't really ask for better than this, it's perfect," Jones commented.
Was this her big comeback year? "Not really, I feel like I never left," she added. "But I felt more like myself today because I was shooting better. I changed my equipment around before I came here, I changed releases and did a few different things. I wish I had done it a little bit earlier in the year but live and learn and I'm excited with how it turned out."
Back from Rio, Mackenzie Brown and Brady Ellison topped the recurve senior podiums with solid 6-0 wins. Brown, who just returned from Rio a few days ago and had not been able to practice since her last match of the Games commented: "I think I shot really well at this competition considering I hadn't shot in two weeks. It's difficult coming into a competition and not having the strength that you want to and being as prepared as you'd like, but I adjusted and did really well."
Brown continued: "Coming into this competition I just focused on what I could control, which is my shot. That's really important, when you go into a competition no matter what so I came in with a good mindset to just shoot my best and that's what I did and I came away with a win; I'm really happy about that."
Ellison had returned to the States earlier and has been prepping for this event since. On finishing the USAT season on top he shared: "This tournament, I trained for it, but it was hard to shoot. It's hard to push to try to win every event you shoot at, especially after the Games. I'm glad I got to do this one and I started shooting good today. After shooting well today and getting back into things I think I'll be able to make a good push on the World Cup Final and the World Archery Field Championships. I'm super excited for fields so I'm going to go home and start practicing for that and then hopefully do okay at the Final too."
Allison Eaton and Chris Webster also earned spots on the senior USAT podiums, but for them it was the first time ever. Eaton finished with silver behind Brown in her first time making it past the 1/8th round in a USAT tournament. "It feels awesome, I've never been on top of the podium before," commented Eaton. On shooting the gold match in the finals venue she added: "It's a lot faster than I'm used to shooting so I have a lot to work on for next year."
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