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Brady Ellison's star continues to rise. The 2008 Olympian, who was USA Today's Olympic Athlete of the Week following a gold-medal performance at the recent World Cup, today set an (unofficial) new national record for his FITA qualifying round score at the Gold Cup, breaking his own previous record with a 1368. The 22 year old Arizona native, currently a Resident Athlete at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, CA, notes: "I felt good, like I shot well at each distance...shot nothing special, just solid all day."
The Gold Cup, a USAT Qualifier Series Event, opened today with cloudy, cool weather conditions at Brookdale Park in Bloomfield, New Jersey. For the recurve men's category, following Ellison were fellow Resident Athletes Jacob Wukie and Jake Kaminski, qualifying 2nd and 3rd respectively with matching 1321's. On the women's side, Khatuna Lorig started out strong and retained her initial lead through most of the day, ending on top with a 1341. Three time Olympian Jennifer Nichols ended a close 2nd with 1337, while Miranda Leek took 3rd, shooting a 1324.
The compound archers were equally motivated for success today, with five archers shifting positions in the men's top three throughout the day. In the end, it was Jesse Broadwater who led the category, shooting a 1419 for 1st. Braden Gellenthien and James Butts shot 1411's for second and third, respectively. For the women, Jamie Van Natta shot her way to the top, setting an (unofficial) world record with her score of 1403. Van Natta, who holds several world records, one of which she shot in Bloomfield, noted that "this field has always been good to me." She was followed by World Cup gold medalist Erika Anschutz, shooting a 1392, and World Cup teammate Christie Colin with her score of 1392.
Junior archers will be ranked with the adults for tomorrow's elimination round match play, but they qualified today within their own categories. For the recurve junior men, it was Jeremiah Cusick who led the pack, shooting a 1281 to qualify #1, while Peter Kelchner, also hailing from the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, shot a 1276 to qualify 2nd. They were followed by Junior Dream Team member Daniel McLaughlin and his score of 1259. The junior girls were led by Resident Athlete Holly Stover, shooting a 1271 to lead the category; she was followed by Junior Dream Team members Michelle Gilbert and Mackenzie Brown, shooting 1205 and 1203 respectively.
For the compound junior men, Aaron Groce took the lead to finish in 1st with 1396; Garrett Abernathy ended with a 1393 to qualify #2, while Hunter Heavner held the third spot with his score of 1358. Kailey Johnston joined fellow Georgia native Groce in the number one spot for her category, shooting a 1376, while Paige Pearce ended in 2nd with 1375. They were followed by Sarah Lance, shooting a 1374 for the number three spot.
The excitement continues at the Gold Cup tomorrow with elimination round match play to determine the champions of this USAT Qualifier Series Event. Additionally this weekend, the World Archery Championships Team Trials continue with round robins tomorrow and Sunday to determine the archers who will represent the United States in Torino, Italy this July.
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