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Team USA's Jennifer Hardy (Houston, Texas), whom many speculated might retire following the 2012 Olympic Games, returned to the field with a vengeance on Friday, leading the charge in the women's recurve category at the AAE Arizona Cup, and finishing qualifications atop a very tough field.
With a 1339, Hardy joined Mexico's Olympic medalists Aida Roman (1331) and Mariana Avitia (1326) on the podium at this World Ranking Event following a very windy day of four-distance shooting, assuring favorable bracketing for Sunday's elimination rounds.
Crispin Duenas of Canada had a decisive lead over his opponents at the end of qualifications, dominating the recurve men's field with a 1339, fourteen points ahead of his closest competitor: World No. 1 Brady Ellison (Payson, Ariz.). Mexico's Luis Velez, shooting a 1318, ended the day in the third spot.
The men, shooting 90, 70, 50 and 30 meters to the womens' 70, 60, 50 and 30, had fairly calm winds to start the day - but wind became a significant factor after the half. Immediately following the target move to 30 meters, a "dust devil" - a strong wind accompanied by the ever-present dust in the Sonoran Desert - hit the field, knocking over one bale and reportedly breaking five arrows.
The compound women "enjoyed" the same wind that the recurve archers did, shooting their 72 arrow, 50 meter round in the afternoon. It was fitting that Texas A&M archer Tristan Skarvan - from notoriously windy College Station, Texas - topped qualifications, hitting a 677 for the top spot.
Skarvan was followed by top World Ranked archers Jamie Van Natta (Toledo, Ohio) and Erika Jones (Grand Island, Neb.), just one point apart with 671 and 670 in a division that featured some very stiff competition.
Jesse Broadwater (Jennerstown, Pa.) went number one in the compound men's qualifications by just one point, in a tight race versus World No. 1 ranked archer Reo Wilde (Pocatello, Idaho). Dave Cousins (Standish, Maine) finished third in a category of seventy-seven strong competitors, shooting a 705.
In the para categories, Michael Lukow (Taylorsville, Utah) topped the recurve standing men's group, while Paralympian Russell Wolfe (Williamsburg, Va.) led the recurve W2 men. Paralympian Lee Ford (Perry, Ga.) finished on top for the recurve standing women. Fabry, Stutzman and Chavez led the compound W1 men's, compound open men's and compound women's categories, respectively, with their world record setting performances.
While junior archers were combined with the seniors for event ranking purposes, their categories were led by Collin Klimitchek (Chula Vista, Calif.) in the recurve men, Lauren Clamon (Chula Vista, Calif.) for the recurve women, Steven Manfull (Valley Center, Kan.) and Lexi Keller (Omro, Wis.).
For the cadets, Danielle Reynolds (Gilbert, Ariz.), Carolina Estrada (MEX), and Allie Blazek (Broomfield, Colo.) took gold, silver and bronze medals in the compound women's group. Chris Bee (Howell, Mich.), Josue Chong (MEX) and Jimmy Bell (Brookline, Mass.) earned spots on the podium for the compound men.
Jenna Ahn (Coto De Caza, Calif.), Eliana Claps (Marion, Iowa) and Anna Miscione (Ramonoa, Calif.) were the gold, silver and bronze-winning cadet recurve women's archers, while Jake Ohlendorf (Chula Vista, Calif.), Luis-Angel Tapia (MEX) and Andrew Mateo (Chandler, Ariz.) clinched the medals for the recurve men.
The excitement continues on Saturday with open and national team rounds, as well as an elimination round for cadet archers. Sunday will be a true archery showdown, as Olympic-style elimination round matchplay begins for juniors and seniors; with wind to keep things interesting, it really could be anyone's game.
Follow the action with live scoring at http://ianseo.net/Details.php?toId=373; check out our photos each day here at usarchery.org. USA Archery will carry live updates and results on Facebook and Twitter (@usaarchery) throughout Sunday's elimination rounds.
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