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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – There has been some big scores and big talk in the compound division ahead of the Indoor Nationals Final in Louisville, KY on Thursday.
Kris Schaff will stroll into the Kentucky International Convention Center as the men’s number one seed, earned on his way to breaking a seven-year national record. The 30-year-old dropped just one point at Indoor Nationals last month in posting a remarkable score of 1199 from 120 arrows.
In the women’s draw, Paige Pearce has made it clear that she would like her title back. Having won the first three years, Pearce finished fourth last year, with victory going to then 15-year-old Olivia Dean.
Pearce said, “I really want to win the Final again. I want to be back on top. You can bet I’m gunning for it.”
Dean kept her nerve 12 months ago to defeat Alexis Ruiz in the gold medal match, becoming the only archer other than Paige Pearce to win this particular title. She is also well aware that Pearce wants the title back.
“I actually saw the interview (with Paige),” she said with a smile. “I wasn’t thinking about the fact that she’d won it three times in a row before.
“Of course I’m confident, and whatever happens happens this year. I’m feeling good but if she (Pearce) wins I’ll be just as happy for her, and if I win I’ll feel great again.”
The top eight in the women’s compound division bring together a fantastic blend of teenagers and veterans.
Liko Arreola hails from Hawaii, and yet at just 15 has still enjoyed a fair share of success. She heads to Louisville as the second seed, and faces Leann Drake in her first match. A win for her could bring her a second round match against the defending champion, though Olivia Dean will need to overcome Toja Ellison.
Pearce opens against Marissa Harding, one of two archers out of the all-conquering University of the Cumberlands. Her college teammate is Kentucky native Madison Cox, who starts against the veteran Linda Ochoa-Anderson.
“I’m pretty relaxed,” admitted Cox. “But I’m also kind of nervous because it’s my first time in the Final so I feel like I need to have a good showing.
“But also I have no expectations. I’m just going to go and shoot the best arrows that I possibly can and hope that it turns out well.”
Like the women’s division, the compound men’s event is sure to provide archery of the highest quality. Schaff is aware that he will have a sizable target on his back after his record-breaking performance last month, and of those sure to pose a threat will be defending champion Braden Gellenthien, who defeated Schaff in last year’s gold medal match, as well as 18-year-old Sawyer Sullivan.
Sullivan is not new to the Indoor Nationals Final but this year will be his first as a senior. He admits the transition has been tough but he is relishing the challenge.
“The competition’s much harder,” he admitted. “It’s more stressful, (but) it’s fun. You get to shoot on the big stage.”
Sullivan meets Carson Sapp in his first match in Louisville. The winner of that faces Gellenthien or Sullivan’s good friend, Isaac Sullivan, who is among the top eight for the first time.
The 18-year-old from Vermont said, “I’m excited. I’ve been training a lot. I want to beat Braden but at the end of the day we’re all equal competitors.
“Braden Gellenthien’s a great competitor and I respect him a lot. He’s from New England so I’m just excited to shoot against him and just have fun.”
In the other half of the bracket, Schaff puts his form to the test when he faces Ethan Merrill of Texas A&M, a college teammate of Sawyer Sullivan. Dillon Thompson or Dave Cousins await the winner of that match.
The gold medal matches will be streamed live via Competition Archery Media on Thursday, March 23, at 5pm ET, thanks to support from Competition Archery Media’s sponsors.< Back to All News