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April 04, 2024

Busy first day of Arizona Cup has Paralympic and Olympic Trials Qualification

PHOENIX, Ariz. – Day one of the Arizona Cup also involved Stage #1 Paralympic Trials Qualification Event and Stage #4 Olympic Trials Qualification Event, with records set, hopes raised and – for some – another step taken toward representing the USA in Paris.

Each country can qualify either one or three places each for the Olympic Games in the men’s and women’s recurve division. The USA so far has one quota slot in the men’s division and one in the women’s division.

With a maximum of two quota places in each category for the Paralympic Games, the USA has acquired the maximum two slots in both the recurve men open and compound men open, as well as one slot in the W1 women.

Stage #1 was held in conjunction with the first USAT Qualifier Series Event of the year, the Arizona Cup.

After Stage #1 of three, the recurve men open sees four-time Paralympian Eric Bennett as the man to chase. The 50-year-old, competing on his local range, is ahead of Jordan White, who is just 15!

Bennett said, “This morning, when I woke up and headed out here, knowing I was going to finally shoot some meaningful arrows (toward the Paralympic Games) is when it started to feel real.”

Lance Thornton took silver in the compound men open division, behind Jeff Sena, but sits top of the leaderboard for the Paralympic Games U.S. Team Trials. K.J. Polish sits second, having finished fourth in Arizona behind Canada’s Kyle Tremblay.

The leading archer in the W1 women category was Tracy Otto. She took bronze in the W1 Open at Arizona Cup, behind Jason Tabansky and Lucas Herro.

In the compound women open, Wendy Gardner took gold, beating her national record by 15 points (pending verification). Silver went to 17-year-old Kimberly Garcia and bronze to Teresa Wallace.

The 2024 Arizona Cup champion in the Fabiola Dergovics (BRA), followed by Karen Rocha and Candice Caesar. Kelly Thornbury claimed honors in the V.I. Open.

Talent was scattered across the Ben Avery Archery Range on Thursday morning. For starters, there were familiar names at the top of the recurve men’s and women’s division, just a day after the completion of Stage #3 of Olympic Trials Qualification Event. Brady Ellison – the world number two – is top seed in the men and world number one Casey Kaufhold top among the women.

Qualification rounds for the Arizona Cup also acted as Stage #4 of Olympic Trials Qualification Event. In the men’s division, Ellison remains a good distance in front, but archers are maneuvering behind him.

Trenton Cowles moved ahead of Jackson Mirich and Jack Williams into second spot. In the women’s race for Paris, the top four places stay the same but Alexandria Zuleta-Visser moved up one place from sixth to fifth.

The remaining stages for both Olympic and Paralympic Trials take place in Florida next month, during and after the second USAT event of the year, Gator Cup.

There is a strong international presence at this year’s Arizona Cup, highlighted by the top 10 in the compound men containing top seed Stephan Hansen (DEN), third seed Mathias Fullerton (DEN), fifth seed and world number one Mike Schloesser (NED), seventh seed Roberto Hernandez (ESA), ninth seed Julio Alfredo Barillas Aragon (GUA) and tenth seed Robin Jäätma (EST). A strong field includes James Lutz, Sawyer Sullivan, Jesse Clayton and Kris Schaff in that top 10.

Jäätma’s sister Lisell sits sixth in the compound women. Top seed is Paige Pearce, who finished three points clear of Olivia Dean and Britain’s Ella Gibson, the world number one.

Marcus Cooley is the top seed in barebow men heading into Friday morning’s elimination rounds, leading Wallace Woodlief and Andrew Cousins. Heading the barebow women is Diana Cochran, followed by Christina Lyons and Cindy Czako.

Competition continues on Friday, with elimination rounds in the senior recurve, compound and barebow. The gold medal matches in each category will be streamed live on USA Archery’s Facebook and YouTube channel from 1.30pm PST.

The U21 and U18 competition gets started on Friday afternoon, following qualification rounds for the 50+ division.

Latest scores and results from the Arizona Cup can be found on Between Ends, with action photos from each day of competition.

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