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DUBLIN, Ohio - With perfect conditions on the field today, USA Archery crowned national champions and recognized incredible shooting and new national records!
Winning the senior recurve men and women's divisions were Brady Ellison and Casey Kaufhold. Kaufhold, at just 14 years old, has been having a stellar year, from setting a senior national record indoors, to the junior and senior outdoor national champion titles. Ellison's win marks more national champion titles than he can count, but it is at least his seventh consecutive gold finish in this event.
(Fun fact: Ellison may also be the first man to win the division title with a mustache since Olympic Champion Darrel Pace.)
Ellison's 1365 set a new national record by 39 points, finishing ahead of Matthew Requa's 1340, which was also much higher than the previous record. Alex Bourdage rounded out the podium with a 1317. Kaufhold just outshot Olympians Mackenzie Brown and Khatuna Lorig, taking the win over Brown by one point with 1305 and 1304 respectively. Lorig's 1259 tied fourth place finisher Erin Mickelberry, but won on tiebreaker criteria.
The barebow senior divisions also saw great triumphs as Ben Roger's took the men's title in a surprise upset of John Demmer III. Rogers finished second with 1265 over Demmer's 1262 and John Dillinger's third place 1253. "It's not often occurring that anyone beats John Demmer, but we had a good battle going and this was a day where I happened to be on and he was a little bit off," commented Rogers. "I've been practicing seriously for a change, and it's always an honor to win a national championship. I'd like to thank Lancaster Archery for all they're doing for the barebow community and also, John Demmer. He's the face of our community right now but he also puts in a lot of work behind the scenes, so kudos to him."
With just one year of archery experience, Sarah Briscoe took the barebow senior women's title with an 1146, a wide margin over silver and bronze medalists Tracey Francis and Melody Richards.
Jamie Van Natta and Braden Gellenthien took the compound national titles following impressive performances over two days. Gellenthien's 1421 put him solidly in first ahead of Steve Anderson and Tate Morgan's 1413s, while Van Natta's 1386 outscored silver and bronze medalists Sarah Lance and Cassidy Cox's 1384 and 1379.
Van Natta, who has been competing in this event since compound was first added to the program over twenty years ago, has also won more times than she can count. Following a rough few years, Van Natta has been back on top of the podium much of this year and her comeback season continues to climb. "This has been such a year of huge changes for me, and just to completely upend everything I've ever believed or known so it's super cool that I'm coming back with brand new everything, starting from scratch, and just finding myself all over again. I turn 40 this year, so I've been around for quite a while and I'm one of the older people in my division, so it's good to score one for the old guard as well."
The masters and para divisions also continue to see great growth and competition. Highlights today included the Armless Archer, Matt Stutzman's national record shattering 705 in the para compound open men's division, and husband and wife team Scott and Dee Starnes' record breaking scores in the compound masters divisions to win national champion titles. Stutzman's score was just one point off the world record, and Scott Starnes missed a world record by two.
"I came in trying to make a run at it," commented Scott Starnes. "I knew that in this kind of weather, there was the potential for it. I shoot the scores at home in perfect conditions." Starnes likes to watch the live updated scores each end and says staying on top of the numbers helps him focus on reaching his goals.
Dee Starnes disagrees, and keeps her focus off the scores as much as possible, but is motivated by sharing the line with her husband. "I just keep focus on my shot. If I reach those scores, that's great," commented Starnes. "It means a lot to me to get the record, especially since I haven't been shooting this type of tournament very long. The conditions were perfect, which I'm thankful for, but to shoot this tournament in windy conditions is a whole new ballgame that I'm still learning, but I like the experience of it - you have to learn somewhere."
Conmplete results from the competition and live scores in tomorrow's U.S. Open matches are available here and don't forget to tune in for the U.S. Open Finals Live Stream at 5pm ET on Saturday, August 11th. Official photos from the events are available here.Follow USA Archery on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more from the event. Join the conversation with #OutdoorNationals.
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