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NEWBERRY, Florida - The 2018 Easton Foundations' Gator Cup saw a record 500 plus archers compete for top honors through qualification and exciting elimination matches under the hot Florida sun.
Among the excitement, Jamie Van Natta took silver in the compound senior women's division after a top finish just recently at the first World Cup of the year in Shanghai - her highest international finish in six years. On calling it a comeback, Van Natta commented: "I feel amazing. I've had a couple of rough years and this culminated in some interesting things that happened last year and I was like, 'okay, I need to make a change and I need to come back home to myself.' So this year is all about re-finding the form I used to have, re-finding the attitude I used to have, and so far so good."
Taking the win on National Archery Day, Van Natta added: "I love this sport, I have always loved this sport. I think some of the struggle was that I forgot how much I loved this sport, so I basically had to go back and remind myself that I'm doing this because I love it and I'm doing it because it's fun and my dad got me into it a really long time ago. My love for archery has never wavered; my ability to do it has wavered, but my love has never wavered."
The senior compound men and recurve women's gold medal matches both ended in impressive one-arrow shoot offs. Taking the compound win and champion title, Matt Sullivan commented: "I had a couple of matches that I just wanted to get over and get through; I've had some tie-ups with Braden [Gellenthien] and Stephan [Hansen] especially. I've lost to both of them and it was just a hurdle I wanted to get through. I cleared both matches - and to get Braden in the gold medal like that and have a shoot off was pretty fun."
University of Arizona collegiate archer Nicole Turina finished with senior recurve women's bronze behind Mackenzie Brown and Mexico's Aida Roman. On taking her first senior USAT podium finish, Turina is feeling strong and ready for next weekend's National Outdoor Collegiate Nationals, which will begin Thursday back here in Newberry. Turina commented on her win: "It's unreal. I've been practicing a lot since finals ended and it's paid off. It can be really hard to balance school and archery, I've been taking fewer credits and I think that's helped. I'm studying ecology and evolutionary biology and I think I'm still on track to graduate in five years."
Complete results from the event are available on USA Archery's dedicated Live Results page. Photos are posted to USA Archery's photo site. Follow USA Archery on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more from the event.
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