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NEWBERRY, Florida - A two hour lightning delay, torrential rains and gusty winds were no match for the archery talent on the field during today's Gator Cup finals. With gold medals, paychecks and ranking points on the line, archers rallied in the end, delivering head to head finals matchplay that kept fans on the edges of their seats.
Take, for example, the gold medal final between U.S. teammates Reo Wilde and Braden Gellenthien. Matching one another point for point, these archers made it a back and forth contest that ultimately saw Wilde take gold, 141-140. Bronze medalist Alex Wifler also had to bring his A-game to stop opponent Chris Bee, who nearly defeated Wilde in the semis.
The compound women's final was full of surprises, showing fans a preview of up and coming talent in the gold medal matchup. World Champion Emily Fischer - competing as a junior at this event - finished atop the podium, shooting a 136-131 match versus fellow junior Hannah Hardin. Meanwhile, favorite adult women Crystal Gauvin and Paige Pearce battled for bronze, with Gauvin taking the medal.
Olympic medalist Brady Ellison showed fans why he's the only recurve archer to win three World Cup Final titles: he was unstoppable, even posting perfect 30s in today's wind, to clinch the men's gold medal, 6-2 versus London 2012 teammate Jacob Wukie. Winning bronze was Sean McLaughlin, who shot a tiebreaker win over Canada's Crispin Duenas.
For the recurve women, it was two relative newcomers shooting it out for gold: Resident Athlete LaNola Pritchard, and Junior Dream Team member Anna Miscione, both of whom are also shooting for spots in tomorrow's Team Trials events. Pritchard won the match with a 6-5 shoot-off victory, giving Miscione the silver in her first senior podium finish. Also winning a medal today: five-time Olympian Khatuna Lorig, versus opponent Erin Mickelberry.
Ryan Oliver and Geun (Kevin) Kim, Recurve Junior Dream Team (JDT) members who battled it out in the Arizona Cup gold medal match, met again today for the recurve cadet gold medal. This time, Oliver left nothing to chance, starting two points up and taking the match to a 6-2 win. Brian Bullis was the winner of the bronze medal, finishing 6-4 versus Min Soo Kim. For the women, it was Caity Farr who won gold despite serious wind in her match, shooting a tiebreaker victory versus Grace Kim. Just behind: bronze medalist Leila Kim, winning the medal 6-4 versus Eliana Claps.
The compound cadet group also showed serious up and coming talent, with Kinzie Thomas, a Compound JDT member, delivering a solid gold medal win versus opponent Ashlyn Merritt, 139-122. Round out the top three: Gracie Detamore, winning bronze over Savannah Vandermier, 135-118. For the cadet men, it was Compound JDT archer Samuel White and Cole Feterl shooting for gold, with White taking the win, 140-135. Ethan King became bronze medalist by five points over Kevin Clayton.
Complete results from today's Gator Cup eliminations are available on USA Archery's Gator Cup landing page. Follow USA Archery on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for live updates throughout Monday's U.S. Team Trials for the World Archery Championships and World Archery Youth Championships.
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