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June 11, 2023

Dramatic contests help close out a record-breaking SoCal Showdown

CHULA VISTA, Cali. – The 2023 SoCal Showdown, the third of four events in the USAT Qualifier Series, came to a close at the Easton Archery Center of Excellence on Sunday afternoon with gold medal matches in the compound and recurve for U21 men and women.

Under gray clouds and the occasional light rain, there were some bright performances throughout. The most dramatic match was the recurve U21 women, which went to a one-arrow shoot-off, eventually won by Charvika Gopi.

Gopi got the better of her Lancaster Archery Academy JOAD teammate Samantha Ensign, who had won at Gator Cup last month, and had fought from 5-3 down to take it to a shoot-off.

“It felt pretty nerve-wracking,” admitted Gopi. “But I was able to do it, so it was good.”

Gopi and Ensign are no strangers to the elimination format, and no strangers to competing against one another, as it is something they regularly do as an exercise with Lancaster Archery Academy.

Jacob Robinson – bronze medalist at last month’s Gator Cup – claimed gold in the recurve U21 men, defeating Oscar Martinez 6-2. Robinson, out of Kennesaw Archery Club, was making his SoCal Showdown debut. He was one of a record-breaking number of archers competing at this year's event, to go with the new highs set at Arizona Cup and Gator Cup.

The U21 gold medal matches opened with a win for Bella Otter in the compound women. Otter, from California, defeated Sydney Sullenberger 146-143. Sullenberger had topped qualification on Saturday with a personal best 701.

Both archers had been competing on a different field to that used for the gold medal matches, and one which faced in the opposite direction.

Otter said, “I think being on the practice range (ahead of the gold medal match) was huge, because we were able to get a feel for it, and kind of recognizing ‘where am I aiming off, how much do I need to move my sight?’

“And then kind of just trusting in my shot, and trusting what I did on the practice range was going to continue over here was a big part of it.”

There was an even closer contest in the compound U21 men, with number one seed Eli Bartron of Heritage Archery Academy triumphing over Pineapple JOAD’s Allen Alihodzic 144-142.

Bartron got off to a flying start, with a perfect score from his first three arrows, before hitting a little bit of a wobble, only to finish strong with scores of 30 and 29 from the last two ends.

“To open a match like that, especially on a stage like this, it gave me a lot of confidence,” Bartron said. “But then it got to the middle, (and) I was five down with two eights. At that point I knew I was hitting the middle a lot, so just kind of stuck with it.”

Earlier in the day, there were gold medals given out to Chanyoung Mun (recurve U18 men), Riley Tateyama (recurve U18 women), Landyn Cox (compound U18 men), Lilie Aguilar (compound U18 women), Bryce Henak (barebow U18 men), Elizabeth Howe (barebow U18 women), Eric Hughes (fixed pins U18 men) and Jayden Azbill (fixed pins U18 women).

The fourth and final event in the USAT Qualifier Series is the Buckeye Classic, which takes place in Dublin, OH, from July 28-30. Registration remains open until July 14.

You can check all the results from the 2023 SoCal Showdown on Between Ends, and there are photo galleries from each day on USA Archery’s SmugMug account.

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