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PHOENIX, Ariz. – The 2022 AAE Arizona Cup marks the beginning of the outdoor target season and this year is off to an awesome start with record event registrations, growing competition opportunities, high scores, fresh talent and intense and exciting matches.
As wind picked up through matches today, strong shooters prevailed. Louis Price was the 13th of 13 archers to break 700 in a stellar qualification round and he climbed the brackets today, upsetting Dacota Taylor and Cooper French on his way to face No. 3 James Lutz for compound men’s gold. In a tight match, Lutz pulled off the win 146-145. Top seed Sawyer Sullivan, in his senior debut, took the bronze win over Dave Cousins.
Paige Pearce and Tanja Gellenthien, who’ve led the compound women through this entire indoor season, faced each other in a very windy gold final. Pearce took the win in a shoot off. Danelle Lutz, who has made a name for herself shooting for South Africa, is starting to collect U.S. ranking points and pulled off the bronze win over top seed, Great Britain’s Ella Gibson.
Catalina GNoriega had an epic gold win on the recurve women’s finals stage against world silver medalist Casey Kaufhold. “The competition was tough as always,” shared GNoriega. “But I was able to focus on my shot and it got me all the way through. Obviously, I was feeling the nerves and the pressure but ultimately you just have to shoot your shot and I had fun out there. I’m looking forward to hopefully being on the world cup team and being at a level where I can podium there too so that’s what I’m working towards.” Gabrielle Sasai took the bronze over Savannah Vanderwier, who made the finals in her first USAT event with a recurve.
Brady Ellison is back on top of the podium, winning gold in his home state 7-1 over Joonsuh Oh after a strong performance in qualification. “I felt really good today; I completely rebuilt my shot about a week ago. I shortened my draw length about a half inch, standing a little bit different, trying to get rid of some back pain so I can train a bit more. I felt like I was shooting at about 75-80% this week and really what I learned is that even when the shot doesn’t feel good, I’m still hitting good. I just got more and more confident through the weekend under pressure with the changes that I made. I’m pretty excited for what this is going to be like in the future. I feel like once I get this down and I’m shooting 90-95%, I’m going to be pretty dangerous.” Arizona standout Jackson Mirich won bronze in a shoot off against Dallas Jones.
The compound 50+ men’s final came down to top qualifiers Tim Gillingham and Paralympic Champion Andre Shelby. In a close-scoring match, Gillingham took the win 145-144. Nieves Gonzalez IV won the bronze. The women’s podium also matched the qualification lineup with Deanna Cronin taking another win in her home state over Alanna Dunaway. Tamara Fontenot won bronze over Arizona’s Jena Miller.
Emerging and returning talents in the recurve 50+ men’s field saw major upsets as the top four seeds went out in the quarterfinals. Gabriel Querol fought his way to gold over Raymond Gerard and No. 10 Brent Allen outscored Don Rabska for bronze. Nicole Rasor won the recurve 50+ women's gold over Susan Bock and Janis Grellner took bronze.
Christopher Garcia, who qualified first for the barebow men won gold in a shoot off with Rick Stonebraker and U.S. Open champion Matt Yacca won bronze. Christina Lyons also qualified first and went on to win gold over Melody Richards and Kay Earls won barebow women’s bronze.
Ben Rogers took the barebow 50+ men’s gold in a close finish over Daniel Weiss and Bob Carroll took the bronze. Barbara Carroll, Melissa McAvoy and Charlene Shelfer climbed the barebow 50+ women’s podium.
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