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DECATUR, Alabama - After the completion of the National Target Championships yesterday, The US Open, part of the event known as Outdoor Nationals, featured head to head elimination matches for senior and masters archers. Easton JOAD Nationals shooters competed in elimination matches today too, with placement weighing into Grand National Champion titles, to be awarded tomorrow after participation in the team rounds.
There were an impressive number of young archers on the senior podiums today. Many of the archers shooting in the finals and semifinals elected to shoot up in age categories and have made quite a splash on the adult competitive scene.
Dahlia Crook (Piedmont, Kansas) is only 15 and made her first US Open podium today with a silver medal finish for compound women. Crook shot her way through the brackets to face Jamie Van Natta (Toledo, Ohio) for gold: "I'm pretty happy, it was pretty fun to shoot in the finals and in the gold medal match, even though I didn't win. I was just focusing on form, reading the wind and trying to make strong shots."
Dahlia, who is coached by Braden Gellenthien (Hudson, Massachusetts) explained her preparation for this tournament: "I trained hard, shot a lot of arrows, I usually shoot anywhere between 150-180 arrows a day."
"It feels very satisfying to finally be on the podium. I was focusing on my game, trying to make consistent shots, and not let the wind get to me," shared Steven Manfull (Valley Center, Kansas), who took the bronze for compound senior men. On shooting on in the finals venue: "It was a lot of fun, intimidating at first, but once you get used to it, it's great, it's cool to have the spotlight on you for a while. I just practiced like normal at home I came here and shot my game."
For the young recurve archers and Rio 2016 hopefuls, shooting in the senior division represents a chance to make the Olympic team when the trials begin this fall.
Mackenzie Brown (Chula Vista, California) shot for gold against Khatuna Lorig (West Hollywood, California). On her silver medal finish, the 20-year old shared: "I feel really great about it. My season started slow and now I'm coming into my own for Olympic trials and this is perfect timing. Right now that is what is most important along with supporting the World Archery Championships team members to do really well and qualify us for our spots."
She added: "I know what it's like to shoot against Khatuna and it was just like every other match against her-I tried to do the best I could and not let it get to my head if she shot really well one end. This is a good push in the right direction, motivating me to try even harder in my training to simulate more matches, and do visualization with how I shoot in matches like this."
Recurve bronze medalist, 17-year old Anna Miscione (Ramona, California) has been rocking senior USAT series event brackets all year. "I was just trying to shoot my practice shots and just relax." Miscione just edged out another young, talented archer, Lauren Clamon (Chula Vista, California)
Daniel McLaughlin, age 21, has been shooting as a senior long before this year when aged into the category. While Daniel claimed the silver today in a final match against Brady Ellison (Globe, Arizona) he felt that his semifinal match was one of the best he's ever shot: "I've been having a really good week, and I was excited to shoot in the finals venue. The wind calmed down, so it was just about executing good shots and dropping them in. I went up there and did what I had to do.
"I've been working hard all year and things fell into place with this one. I'm really confident about [Olympic] trials. I had a rough season at first even though I trained hard and it's refreshing to see it pay off and I'm looking forward to the trials."
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