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The final arrows of qualifications were shot tonight under bright stadium lights. For participants of the 131st US National Target Championships, this means national champion titles were awarded and Easton JOAD Nationals shooters earned valuable points toward Grand National Championship titles. However, the big victory of the day was the community experience shared by archers in a trying day of changing weather.
Starting at 7:00 am, the first weather delay was called and archers rallied to share updates via twitter, Facebook, and word of mouth. We saw fantastic #StormSelfies and videos of archers singing in their cars, while the USA Archery judges and staff worked nonstop to ensure the safety of all participants and to complete as much of the tournament as possible.
"I am so happy that we were able to shoot on a field with lights so that we were able to finish shooting nationals even though the weather was not ideal. I really struggled throughout this week and got extremely lucky on a lot of arrows and finally put a good round together in my last six to win," shared Olympic silver medalist Brady Ellison (Globe, Arizona), who won the recurve men's division.
Earlier in the day, compound men's national champion, David Houser (Creekside, Pennsylvania), explained: "The best way I keep my mental game is, everyone else on the field is dealing with the exact same thing. I just went out there and tried to do the best I could and it was enough at the end of the day to take the win.
"It feels awesome; it's still surreal and probably won't set in any time soon. I've stood back for so many years and just watched Reo [Wilde], Jesse [Broadwater], all these guys go up there and do what I did today and it's just so surreal that I could be in that position to do what I've been dreaming about since I picked up a bow." This year is 17-year old Houser's first year shooting at this level and he is certainly making a name for himself.
Five-time Olympian and Olympic bronze medalist Khatuna Lorig (West Hollywood, California) echoed his mindset: "I try to concentrate on my shot, to make strong shots. I'm really proud of myself and of my [World Archery Championships] teammates' performances. I'm going to bed early to prepare for tomorrow and I'm looking forward to shooting in Denmark."
"I felt pretty good; I shot really strong, better than yesterday and my scores went up. I was happy about that. You have to live in the moment and sometimes it's miserable to be outside and you have to just laugh at it like 'is that the best you can do? Bring it on!'" shared Lee Ford-Faherty (Perry, Georgia), recurve women's open national champion.
Jamie Van Natta (Toledo, Ohio) compound women's national champion, dominated the entire round to finish on top: "It feels really good to go out and shoot my shots and know that I am still at the top of the game even after so many years. After a brief hiatus from being in the top ranks, it feels good that I can come back and still play this game."
With a great mix of new and veteran archers on the adult field, the example is set for JOAD shooters: anything is possible with archery, and anyone can become great in this sport if you train hard and really work for it. A day like today with weather challenges, really allows us to highlight the best parts of this sport and the heart it takes to be an archer.
For complete results, including the Easton JOAD Nationals, visit our page here. Tomorrow there will be a live stream of the US Open Finals at the same link. For more updates from the field, follow USA Archery on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and NEW-Snapchat @usaarchery.
National Target Champions:
Larry Skinner - Recurve Masters 70+ Men
Mary Ellen Leach - Recurve Masters 70+ Women
Richard McKinney - Recurve Masters 60+ Men
Karen Kroll - Recurve Masters 60+ Women
Gary Yamaguchi - Recurve Masters 50+ Men
Kathleen Roberts Stevenson - Recurve Masters 50+ Women
Brady Ellison - Recurve Men
Khatuna Lorig - Recurve Women
Gerard Tedescoe - Compound Masters 70+ Men
Donald Nelson - Compound Masters 60+ Men
Christopher Bee - Compound Masters 50+ Men
Alanna Dunaway - Compound Masters 50+ Women
David Houser - Compound Men
Jamie Van Natta - Compound Women
Richard Stonebraker - Barebow Masters Men
Rebecca Nelson-Harris - Barebow Masters Women
John Magera - Barebow Men
Lynda Lecompte - Barebow Women
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