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NEWBERRY, Fla. - At the Easton Foundations Gator Cup, the sheer competitiveness of archers rose in sync with the heat of the day, as participants kicked off the second USAT Qualifier Series Event of 2014. With national ranking points, World Cup Team placement and other incentives at stake - not to mention prize money in some divisions - the pressure was on, and athletes delivered.
Today's qualification rounds will rank athletes within their divisions; tomorrow, senior and junior archers will compete in bracket-style head to head elimination rounds to determine overall winners.
Sarah Lance (Wyandotte, Mich.) came from behind to finish first for the compound women with a solid 690. She tied World No. 1 Erika Jones (Grand Island, Neb.) in score, but Jones finished second with three fewer "10s" than her competitor. Crystal Gauvin (Dayville, Conn.) hit a 686 to finish 3rd for the day.
The compound men were led by Reo Wilde (Pocatello, Idaho), who shot a 702 despite variable winds on the field today. Just behind him were World Cup teammates Braden Gellenthien (Hudson, Mass.) with a 701, and Bridger Deaton (Pella, Iowa), who hit a 700.
Jennifer Hardy (Houston, Texas) delivered a field-leading 632 to qualify first by 13 points in the recurve women's category. Georcy Thiffeault-Picard (CAN) shot a 619 for second, while Heather Koehl (Sheboygan, Wis.), who's been attending college for the past year, returned to the field with a 618.
The recurve men saw a class-act comeback from Olympic medalist Brady Ellison (Payson, Ariz.). Ellison, who hovered in 5th or below for much of the morning, had the high score by fifteen points in the second half - a 346 - which pushed him into the top spot with an overall 674. Daniel McLaughlin (Cincinnati, Ohio) had a 664 for second place, while hometown favorite Jake Kaminski (Gainesville, Fla.) was third with 662.
This tournament also features many of the country's best youth archers. Allie Canaday (Yukon, Okla.) and Corey Wright (Williamson, Ga.) qualified first in the compound cadet divisions, with 668 and 678, respectively. Recurve archers were led by Ryan Oliver (Newberry, Fla.) and Caity Farr (Whitehouse Station, N.J.) who delivered scores of 659 and 631. Cadet archers will also participate in elimination rounds today.
The junior divisions also saw very strong scores today. Danielle Reynolds (Gilbert, Ariz.) scored a 676, and David Houser (Creekside, Pa.) a 693, to lead the compound archers. Recurvers Paige Hill (Sugar Land, Texas) and Caleb Miller (Grand Junction, Colo.) finished atop their categories with 595 and 594, respectively.
Follow the action as the competition continues tomorrow using the links below. Use hashtag #GatorCup to share your own photos and updates!
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