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EAGLE LAKE, Texas - Blaschke Exotic Deer Ranch was a fitting venue for the opening of the U.S. National Field Championships, boasting several of the country's best archers, competing across recurve, barebow and compound categories.
Today's 24 targets were placed at unmarked distances, demanding that successful archers not only make quality shots despite difficult angles on the hilly range, but also correctly judge the distance from the shooting stake to their target.
The barebow categories featured strong talent, including several archers who have been part of World Archery Field Championships teams in the past. Highlights included Rebecca Nelson-Harris' finish in the senior women's group with a 299, while Ben Rogers shot a strong 332 to lead the male senior barebow category. Archers to watch as the competition heats up include Charlene Trafford and Alan Eagleton.
For the recurves, Jake Kaminski shot a very strong 377 to lead a group that boasted three other Olympians - Brady Ellison, Vic Wunderle and John Magera - as well as several other accomplished archers. Heather Koehl hit a score of 339 on the senior women's recurve side, leading a category that includes Olympian Jennifer Hardy and Chelsea Obrebski.
The compound women's group consists of just two archers, but they're two powerhouse shooters: Jamie Van Natta, leading with a 392, and Paige Pearce, shooting a 366 for the first day. On the men's side, competition is closest between leader Jesse Broadwater with his score of 419, and Tim Gillingham, in second with 415; Rod Menzer rounds out the top three with a 408.
Several younger archers got to experience the sheer fun and challenge of field archery today, and the youth categories boasted a wealth of talent, including category leaders Maxwell Hartman, Brooke Vandenbergh, Josef Fischer, Kathryn Fischer, Ryland Hartman, Monica Nevarez, Jeramy Minor, Jake Overbeck, William Witt, Alex Wu, Coltin Lopez, Miriam Trafford, Allison Magera, Hardy Trafford, Allison Williams, Hunter Barthels and Ben Chu.
There's also a strong masters contingent in Texas, with Skip Trafford leading a strong "Trafford Team" with his own category-leading score of 274 in the male masters' barebow group; Donny Hughes is currently topping the male masters' compound category with a 344. David Wearne is the leader in the male masters' recurve group.
Complete results from the first day are available here. Photos from the event, taken by Ron Carmichael and Michael Hojnacki, are posted on USA Archery's Facebook page. Additional updates will be posted as they become available.
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