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July 20, 2010

USA Strikes Gold at World Field Championships

Visegrad, Hungary - Veteran archers and newcomers alike represented the United States at the World Archery Field Championships in Visegrad, Hungary this week, and neither group disappointed. All members of Team USA held their own in qualification rounds, and the compound shooters earned a total of four medals, in the senior and junior classes.

Following an opening ceremony held at Visegrad Castle, not far from Budapest, archers took to the field for the first of two qualification rounds, consisting of 24 targets set along a roving course at unmarked distances. The ranking round continued to the second day, during which archers shot another 24 targets set at marked distances. Following the qualification rounds, US Olympic Team member Vic Wunderle was ranked first with a strong 742, followed by teammate Timm Hines qualifying 22nd with 624. For the recurve women, Nancey Tsai qualified 19th with her score of 501, while Brandi Mantha ranked 20th with a 498.

The compound archers also fared well in the qualification rounds, with Dave Cousins ranked first with 838, followed closely by Kevin Wilkey in 3rd with an 809, and Rod Menzer in 5th with 805. The compound women's group was led by Lora Gravlin, who qualified 23rd with her score of 701; Amanda Sisson ranked 24th with her 694, and Crystal Parker rounded out the US compound women, qualifying 25th with a 692.

This tournament also had a strong showing from barebow shooters, and the US group held their own, with field veteran Skip Trafford qualifying 26th with a 558; newcomer Avram Grannett followed in 30th with a 442, as well as Daryl Harris, who qualified 31st with 434. Three women also represented the US in barebow, with Becky Nelson-Harris qualifying a strong 6th with 580; Julie Robinson followed in 14th with 529, and Lori Prichard-Beller finished 16th with 524. Also noteworthy was the performance by Junior Barebow archer Hardy Trafford, the youngest archer in the Championship at ten years old, who qualified tenth in the junior division.

The Trafford family was also well-represented in the recurve junior women's division by sisters Heather, Rachael and Miriam, who ranked 4th, 6th and 7th, respectively. For the compound junior men, Sean Elza shot an outstanding score of 792, which propelled him to a first-place ranking; Adam Gallant qualified a strong 3rd with his 777, and Levi Cyr finished just behind, ranking 4th with his score of 776. In the compound junior women's group, Hunter Jackson shot well enough to qualify 4th with 708; Kayleigh Rogers stayed close behind and was ranked 6th with 632.

Individual and team eliminations followed; teams consisted of the top-qualifying archer from each equipment style of the same gender. The senior men's team consisting of Skip Trafford, Vic Wunderle and Dave Cousins was seeded 4th, participating in the team eliminations but ultimately lost in the quarterfinals. Individual eliminations, however, proved successful for several members of Team USA. 

All three of the US compound men shot well enough to advance to the finals, where Cousins and Wilkey shot for the gold medal, while Menzer faced Jeremy Thierry of France for the bronze. Menzer was defeated in a close match, 63-61, while Cousins took the gold in his match against Wilkey, 65-61, giving Wilkey the silver. Recurve junior shooter Heather Trafford, who qualified 4th, advanced to the bronze medal match, where she was defeated, 43-38, ranking 4th overall for the championship.

The junior compound shooters fared especially well, with Sean Elza advancing to the gold medal match, where he outscored Oswald of Germany in a very close match to win the event, 61-60. Adam Gallant also moved on to the finals, where he was retired by Bridgman of Great Britain, who won the bronze medal match, 63-60. On the women's side, Hunter Jackson was also successful in propelling herself to the finals, where she took the silver medal in her match against Emeline Salmon of France.

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