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DARRINGTON, Washington - The 2018 U.S. National Field Champions were named today after two days of competition. Following yesterday's 24 targets at unmarked, or unknown, distances, archers competed at 24 marked distance targets today and competition was fierce.
Compound senior women's champion Paige Pearce commented, "Field archery is my favorite kind of archery and I always look forward to this tournament. The competition today was really good; it was nice knowing how far the targets were and I saw a lot of improvement over yesterday. I shot a lot of 6s today and I think that's what helped me. I also shot more 4s today than yesterday and was pretty bummed about that, but today they were either middle-middle, or they weren't. I can't complain!"
Pearce added, "The shoot was good, the weather held and it didn't rain. We were grouped today by our rankings from yesterday, so being with [silver and bronze medalists] Jamie Van Natta and Heather Gore let me see how my competition was doing and it pushed me to do even better. We can push off each other all day and it's really nice."
Reigning world field champion Steve Anderson overtook Dave Cousins, who was previously undefeated on this course, in this weekend's events. Anderson credits his success, "I held the middle and worked with my equipment really well, executed shots pretty well and had good intuition on targets where you have to make an instinctive judgement. That's the game in field archery, you have to play the game and there's more to it than just holding in the middle and shooting, which is why it's the best game. I played the game really well."
On the senior recurve field, Brady Ellison and Heather Koehl were crowned as repeat champions, and Washington local recurve junior Erin White also took her second consecutive title. As Washington women took a podium sweep in the junior category, White shared, "I think the facilities that we have to shoot at gives us an edge. Practicing together and practicing the cuts really made it easier to shoot this course. I worked really hard for this and it's nice to see it all work out. I like field better because it's always different - different distances, different angles and it's in the woods so it's a lot of fun!"
John Demmer III was also a repeating champion, having won the U.S. Field title in the barebow men's division every time he has competed for it. "The competition seems to be getting a little bit stronger and that's good," shared Demmer. "It's always good to shoot against friends, future and current. I'm looking forward to next year and helping a few friends get more involved."
Junior barebow archer Mark Schlaudraff took a big win today while also celebrating his birthday! "It feels fantastic, it's a great way to spend your birthday," commented Schlaudraff. "I wasn't sure I could do it but I pulled out and overcame my nerves and shot great today. I think having confidence is key; if you don't have the confidence, you're not going to shoot well."
Wyndell Wilhelm is another Washington resident topping the podium for the recurve master men. Holding a signature box of Red Lobster biscuit mix on the podium, an inside joke among those in his division, Wilhelm commented: "The win feels good and it is nice to go out and shoot well. We have a good group of guys in the masters' division, we have a good time shooting arrows and it's great fun."
For the top eight archers in the senior and junior divisions, competition picks up again tomorrow as scores continue over into the World Archery Field Championships - U.S. Team Trials. The top three finishing archers in each group will be nominated to compete for Team USA in Cortina, Italy later this year.
Looking forward to the Trials, Anderson commented, "In field archery, no matter how good you shot, you always think about what you left on the field. I left a few on the field that were fine for today, but you can't leave any on the field in a world championship event. So, I have a lot to work on and clean up, but I'm starting from a pretty good position thus far."
Results from today's competition can be found here and current standings for the Trials are available here. For more, follow USA Archery on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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