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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - As we head toward 2024 and a year drenched in anticipation for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris, let us allow ourselves a moment to reflect on an incredible 2023.
From indoor to outdoor, from local to international, from Explore Archery to elite archers, this year has provided so many magical memories.
University of the Cumberlands were confirmed as winners of the USA Archery Indoor Nationals Collegiate Overall Team title, narrowly defeating Texas A&M University (TAMU). Cumberlands totaled 168 points, with their rivals managing 167.5. University of Pikeville were third.
Isaac Sullivan claimed gold on his Indoor Nationals Final debut in the men’s compound, defeating Kris Schaff inside the Kentucky International Convention Center in Louisville. Schaff went in as the number one seed having broken a seven-year national record in qualifying for the Final.
Elsewhere, Casey Kaufhold made it four wins in a row in the recurve women’s event, Paige Pearce regained the compound women’s title, Jack Williams overcame Brady Ellison in the recurve men and Robby Weissinger needed one-arrow shootoffs in all three rounds, including the gold medal match to win in the barebow non-gender division.
The month of April led archers outdoors and brought the first of the four United States Archery Team (USAT) Qualifier Series events, with the largest-ever field assembled for the Arizona Cup. Prior to Arizona Cup getting underway, the US Team Trials were held at the Ben Avery Range for the World Archery Youth Championships, which would take place in July in Limerick, Ireland.
Senior competition for the Arizona Cup was concluded a little earlier, allowing those representing the USA in the Archery World Cup Stage 1 to travel to Antalya, Turkey. The USA won gold in the recurve mixed team and compound women’s team, with a silver in the compound men’s team as well as for Sawyer Sullivan in the compound men. The compound men’s team of recurve mixed team set a new world record during qualification.
USA Archery teamed up with Marvel Entertainment to launch their Archery is for Everyone! campaign. This was the latest initiative in USA Archery’s investment to grow the sport of archery. USA Archery partnered with over 60 archery clubs, organizations, retailers and state fish and wildlife agencies to take archery to communities, with hundreds of Try Archery events across the country.
There was another record-breaking field for the second event in the USAT Qualifier Series, the Gator Cup, with familiar faces emerging victorious in the form of Brady Ellison, Casey Kaufhold, Tanja Gellenthien and Sawyer Sullivan. Richard Stonebraker and Leann Drake made it two from two, having also won barebow 50+ men and compound U18 women at Arizona Cup.
Sullivan swept into the Collegiate Target Nationals in Statesboro, Ga. in top form but team honors were again claimed by the University of the Cumberlands. Sullivan did win his individual event, the compound men.
Liko Arreola became the youngest individual medalist at a World Cup aged just 15 years and 330 days when taking gold in the compound women at the World Cup Stage 3 in Medellin. Arreola’s was one of six medals won by the USA in Colombia, with two of those claimed by Jennifer Mucino-Fernandez.
The third of four USAT events had earlier taken place at the Easton Archery Center of Excellence at Chula Vista, Calif., which saw an increase of almost 100 competitors from the 2022 edition of the SoCal Showdown. It proved to be the perfect preparation for those heading to South America, as Ellison, Alexis Ruiz and James Lutz all took gold in their respective categories. Kaufhold also won gold in Chula Vista, to go with the wins at Arizona Cup and Gator Cup.
Ellison went from winning mixed team gold in Medellin to winning individual honors in Darrington, Wash. at the USA Archery Field Nationals in the recurve men. Paige Pearce took top spot in the compound women.
A busy month of July took archers from Ireland to Iowa, with competition also in the China, Czech Republic, Dublin, Ohio and Des Moines, Iowa.
Kevin Mather was crowned world champion after success at the World Archery Para Championships in Pilsen, Czech Republic. Mather (recurve men open), KJ Polish and Matt Stutzman (compound men open) also secured the USA’s first three quota slots for the 2024 Paralympic Games in Paris.
Earlier in the month, the USA became world champions in three categories following the World Archery Youth Championships in Limerick, Ireland. Dewey Hathaway was a double world champion, with one success coming alongside Olivia Dean, while Sydney Sullenberger completed the golden haul. In all, the USA returned home with 10 medals.
World records were set at the 2023 USA Archery JOAD Target Nationals in Des Moines, which included the crowning of 33 national champions across four age categories.
Alyssa Sturgill won silver for the USA at the World University Games in Chengdu, China.
The final USAT event of the year proved to be worth the wait as the Buckeye Classic took us down Memory Lane as well as on an emotional rollercoaster. Double Olympic champion from 1996, Justin Huish, was involved in the gold medal match of the recurve men, while local hopeful Jordan Graham was unable to hold back the tears on winning gold in the barebow men.
August brought a first Olympic quota slot for the USA when Casey Kaufhold took fourth at the World Archery Championships in Berlin, Germany. A day earlier, Alexis Ruiz and Sawyer Sullivan had become world champions when winning the compound mixed team event, defeating defending champions Colombia.
Ruiz continued her fine year at the World Cup Stage 4 in Paris, when teaming up with Kris Schaff to win the compound mixed team. An emotional Kaufhold defeated local favorite Lisa Barbelin to take gold in the recurve women’s event, on the site for the 2024 Olympic Games. Victory confirmed Kaufhold’s place at the World Cup Final in Mexico.
The USA won an impressive 12 medals at the 2023 Chicago Para-Archery Championship, a world ranking event.
It was announced in August that USA Archery, in partnership with the United States Performance Center (USPC), had opened a new high performance training site on the campus of UNC-Charlotte.
September saw the start of Olympic Trials Qualification, with Stages 1 and 2 during and after the USA Archery Target Nationals and U.S. Open in Malvern, Pa. Brady Ellison and Casey Kaufhold lead the respective standings heading into Stage 3 in Arizona in April.
It was announced in September that Lubbock, Texas would host the 140th edition of the USA Archery Target Nationals and U.S. Open in 2024, while USA Archery received the prestigious Rings of Gold Program Award for Explore Archery during the 2023 Olympic & Paralympic Assembly in Los Angeles.
The World Cup Final took place in Hermosillo, Mexico, with five archers involved from the USA.
University of the Cumberlands made it six in a row as they retained the USA Archery Collegiate 3D Nationals in Foley, Ala. The Kentucky-based school won in Alabama, ahead of University of Pikeville and Lindsey Wilson College.
And we learned in October that Noblesville, Ind. will host the 2024 USA Archery Field Nationals, while Albuquerque, N.M. will welcome the best young archers from across the country for the 2024 USA Archery JOAD Target Nationals.
The USA finished on a huge high in topping the medals table at the Pan American Games, the Para Pan American Games and the 2023 Pan American Field Championship.
More quota slots were also achieved, with the first men’s Olympic slot won at the Pan Am Games in Santiago, Chile following success in the recurve mixed team event. Jackson Mirich took gold in the individual recurve men’s competition. The USA claimed 10 medals in all, three of which were claimed by Alexis Ruiz.
There was a first-ever win at the Para Pan Am Games for K.J. Polish. Polish had a tremendous 2023, winning all four USAT events, and he was part of an outstanding team in Chile which won eight medals in all and secured a further two Paralympic quota slots thanks to gold for Tracy Otto in the W1 open women and by Eric Bennett in the recurve open men.
It truly has been a remarkable year for the sport, with stunning successes and stories at home and abroad, as well as tremendous growth. The bar has been set for 2024.< Back to All News