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July 04, 2023

Day one of the World Archery Youth Championships proves testing but Team USA stands strong

LIMERICK, Ireland – As expected, Mother Nature created additional challenges for all competitors on day one of the World Archery Youth Championships, with the forecast wind and rain making for trying conditions.

The morning session, involving the U21s, appeared to get the best of the weather and Casey Kaufhold took full advantage to top qualification in the recurve women with a score of 651, four better than Britain’s Penny Healey and nine ahead of Caroline Lopez of France.

Along with Catalina GNoriega and Emma Kim, the recurve U21 women were seeded fourth in the team event. Poland is their first opponent on Friday morning.

“My first three ends were really strong,” said Kaufhold. “I had 56, 56, 57, and that was really strong considering the weather conditions, so I think that strong start helped me have a comfortable lead throughout.

“I had some ends which were good, but I also had some where the weather got the best of me, so it all evened out to be a good day.”

Kaufhold led early on and never looked back, but admitted that it added to the pressure to have the venue announcer call her name, though she was able to accept it as part of being the chased and kept up the great work.

Landon Richardson was the best-placed member of the recurve U21 men. The men’s trio of Richardson, Benjamin Hur and Dylan Soong ranked 18th in the recurve team event and face the Philippines in their first round match of the eliminations on Friday morning.

Richardson and Kaufhold join forces for the mixed team competition. They have a bye to the last 16, with Brazil or Japan their opponents on Wednesday.

Sydney Sullenberger, Carson Krahe and Makenna Proctor all finished in the top 20 of qualification in the compound U21 women. Those placings were enough to make sure the USA start in the quarterfinals against Great Britain on day two of the event.

Sullenberger was sixth best overall in qualification and has a bye through to the last 32, with elimination rounds taking place on Saturday.

“With these conditions I am very happy,” admitted Sullenberger. “Obviously I wasn’t expecting some astronomical score; I just wanted to shoot my shot and hopefully that would pay off, and I think it did.”

Sawyer Sullivan (9th) and Isaac Sullivan (20th) finished inside the top 20 in the compound U21 men. Kazakhstan awaits the USA in the team event. Nathaniel Wilken is the third member of the USA trio.

Sullenberger and Sawyer Sullivan combine for the compound U21 mixed team. The sixth seeds face either Ecuador or Germany. Mixed team takes place on Wednesday.

The U18s faced the worst of the weather in the afternoon session, but among the highlights was a top four finish in qualification for Olivia Dean in the compound women’s event. Liko Arreola qualified seventh best, with Leann Drake in 12th. The U18s are second seed in the team competition. Dean and Dewey Hathaway are seeded three in the mixed team. Hathaway came in fourth in the compound U18 men.

“First half started off great,” Hathaway said. “And then the wind kicked up after the second half, but we did what we had to do to prevail and finish in the top 10.”

Like the women, the compound U18 men are seeded four in the team event, which take place on Thursday.

Gabrielle Sasai was the best of the recurve U18 women, taking 15th spot in qualification. Christian Stoddard snatched 12th in the men’s division. He and Sasai will be the recurve U18 mixed team pairing.

And Stoddard offered this, “Tomorrow we’ve got mixed teams. Weather looks a little bit nicer. I’ll just continue to shoot a really good shot and I think we’ve got a great chance of some medals.”

Latest scores, schedules, brackets and results are available for the World Archery Youth Championships. There will also be daily photo galleries from Ireland.

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