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CHULA VISTA, California - Elimination day at the Doinker SoCal Showdown was contested under hot sun at the Elite Athlete Training Center. As the third USAT series event of the year came to a close following Outdoor Nationals last month with nearly 1,200 archers, new strong contenders emerged and new faces found their way to the podium. Also on the podium this weekend were several longstanding successes, and several sets of siblings!
Junior recurve archer Isabella Del Principe upset five-time Olympian Khatuna Lorig on her way to her first senior podium after just a few years of competition. Facing LaNola Shepherd in an intense gold final, Isabella started out down 4-0 but came back to a 4-4 tie before Shepherd took the gold win:"This means a lot to me and for my career and what I want to do; it makes a big dent and has a much larger impact on what I want to accomplish. Hopefully I can get gold next time!"
In her last tournament as a cadet archer, Hala Skelton, who has been competing in USAT events for the past five years, won her first spot on an elimination podium. "I feel like I have served my time, and this win is incredible, it's surreal right now," shared Hala. "I've never won a medal for eliminations before - I've gotten really close before but finally all the hard work has paid off." Next up for Hala: the USA Archery Collegiate Archery Program shooting at Liberty University.
There were also several sets of siblings on the podium this weekend including cadet recurve brother and sister Casey and Connor Kaufhold, who have been shooting many head to head practice matches together to get ready for today. Wyndell and Wesley Wilhelm, brothers from the state of Washington, also earned spots on the podium today, finishing second and third respectively in the recurve masters men's division.
"The competition was great today, we had a great set of competitors and it was my first time at this particular shoot," shared Wyndell. "Wesley [who went head to head with Wyndell in the semifinals] and I had a great match together; we've done this a few times in practice but never in a tournament, so I'm one point up. The masters division here gives us a great opportunity to enjoy shooting arrows; I mean we have a good time down there, but we all want to win so this is icing on the cake."
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