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LANSING, Michigan - This morning 2016 U.S. National Outdoor Collegiate Championships opened with the first 72 arrows of qualification and was followed by an afternoon of mixed team competition. Surprises shook some of the brackets in early matches, but UC Berkeley and James Madison University walked away victorious with multiple medals for their schools.
"During the entire season, we've faced UC Davis and Stanford before and we really enjoy shooting against them," commented Eric Zhou on his barebow mixed team win with Nahkoura Mahnassi. "It's great just to be able to hang out and shoot with them. Barebow is a division about community and having fun, so we enjoyed it a lot."
Mahnassi echoed: "It was pretty cool to win. We already knew most of the teams we were competing against because it's a small division, and we all shoot with each other at other tournaments. We had the same match up at West Regional Outdoor Championships and we lost there, so it was cool to get the win here. They gave us victory slushies!"
"I wasn't expecting the win so it feels really good," commented Kendrick Chaney of UC Berkeley on his recurve mixed team win with Jessica Hsueh. The two were seeded 6th, but jumped ahead of Emmanuel in the semifinals 6-2 before taking a 5-3 win over James Madison. "It's a new field so you never know how your arrows are going to fly. I was happy they went to the right spot."
James Madison's duo of Amanda Woolsey and Matt Petty were not far behind in the gold final with Berkeley. Tied 3-3 before the final set, it came down to the last arrow and a line-call to determine the winner. "This is the first gold medal match I've ever been in at nationals," commented recent graduate Woolsey. "We shot against a really great team and it's nice to have competitors where it's head to head the whole time. This is my last year and I'm really happy I finished strong in the mixed teams and I have a great team with me."
Aaron Sackschewsky and Allison Wolfing also took silver for JMU behind Penn College in the bowhunter mixed team final. The fifth seeded team was surprised by their medal finish and very happy with their shooting. The two had not practiced together as a mixed team prior to today's competition: "I think we had some pretty good chemistry together. We started to get to know each other a few weeks ago and just got really close and could just relax," commented Sackschewsky. "Communication was a big thing for us too," added Wolfing.
Sara Clemmer of JMU shared the excitement with her compound mixed team silver finish: "It's the best I've ever done in mixed teams. I was more focused and was able to go out and practice more this year because of my class schedule. Go JMU!" Clemmer and Daniel Suter qualified third together and took a semifinal win over UCLA before falling 148-142 in the gold final to Georgia Southern University.
Coach Brad Fiala was very proud of his JMU archers: "I feel like we had a good day today. All of our teams performed to their ability. With a little luck here and there and some consistent shooting, we were on the podium in three different divisions."
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