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March 21, 2023

Leading lights made adjustments but still confident of recurve success

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Some of the world’s best recurve archers converge on Louisville for the National Indoors Final, with familiar favorites among them, as well as emerging stars.

Brady Ellison and Casey Kaufhold qualified top of the pile in both divisions. Ellison is eager to go one better than 12 months ago, when defeated by Trenton Cowles in a one-arrow shoot-off, while Kaufhold is determined to retain the title she’s claimed in the last three editions.

Ellison heads to Louisville having posted 1195 in qualifiers, and what he believes to be his best score at an Indoor Nationals. He now lives in Montana and suggests he will be better prepared as he is able to train alongside his wife Toja and leading compound archer, Kris Schaff.

Though about even with his wife, Ellison admits, “It’s really hard for me to beat Kris, so training against him every day has been a really big help.”

Ellison has recently adjusted his set-up, since when – in his words – he has been shooting ‘really, really well’.

Kaufhold, meanwhile, has spent time under the watchful eye of legendary coach, Kim Hyung Tak of Korea, one of the most decorated coaches in the sport.

She said, “I just made a lot of changes. Coach Kim came to Lancaster, where I’m on Spring Break, and I worked with him for two or three days just fixing a lot of things.

“The Koreans are the best in the sport right now, and so their form system is different to a lot of the techniques we see around the world.

“I’ve been adapting some more, I guess you could say, Korean techniques. I’ve been a bit sore, using different muscles, but I think long-term it’s going to pay off, and I’m curious to test it out for the first time in Louisville.”

Despite just turning 19, Kaufhold can be considered one of the more experienced competitors in the women’s division. She faces her Lancaster Archery JOAD club teammate Alyssa Artz in her opening match, a rematch of the 2020 gold final.

In the same half of the bracket, another Lancaster JOAD archer Samantha Ensign meets Isabella Kim, who has recently been named to USA Archery’s U18 National Elite Program.

Second seed Molly Nugent, the runner-up at last year’s Buckeye Classic, opens against Erin Mickelberry, with the winner tackling either 14-year-old Abigail Kippes, or 2020 Olympic team alternate and Resident Athlete Catalina GNoriega.

Reigning champion Cowles did not qualify for the Final, but his Texas A&M teammate Alex Gilliam did, and will be the first hurdle for Ellison on Thursday. Matt Requa and Christian Stoddard meet to decide who faces Ellison or Gilliam.

Stoddard is one of two archers in the men’s division to be named to the 2023 Resident Athlete Program, along with Matthew Nofel. Nofel meets number two seed Jack Williams in his opening match. One of those two will have a semifinal contest against either Gabe Anderson or Jackson Mirich. Mirich, like Gilliam, is part of the USA Archery National Elite Program.

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.

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