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September 01, 2023

Olympic Trials Qualification past the first stage while national titles secured in Malvern

MALVERN, Pa. – After two tough days of competition in Malvern to start the 139th USA Archery Target Nationals and U.S. Open, 32 names emerged from Stage #1 2024 Olympic Trials Qualification.

The 16 men to make it to Sunday’s stand-alone Stage 2, which will involve 15 round robin matches, are: Brady Ellison, Jackson Mirich, Trenton Cowles, Jack Williams, Matthew Requa, Alex Gilliam, Joonsuh Oh, Seth McWherter, Landon Richardson, Justin Huish, Christian Stoddard, Gabe Anderson, Jacob Wukie, Matthew Nofel, T Sanchez and Thomas Stanwood.

"I had a good lead yesterday," commented Ellison. "I wanted to come out here and I wanted to shoot a 680-plus for Olympic Trials to get all the bonus points. I came out here and the first 36 arrows in the wind and I shot a really strong first half, then I just got soft and lazy or whatever, and kind of barely held it together the last 36 arrows but I hung onto the 680 and ended up coming away with another Nationals win."

Among the notable names on this list is Justin Huish, who won individual and team gold at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. He missed making the cut by the narrowest of margins last time around, finishing on the same points as the archer in 16th but failing to progress due to having fired fewer 10s.

The 16 women are: Casey Kaufhold, Catalina GNoriega, Akshara Vijay, Molly Nugent, Jordan Marie Meiners, Emma Kim, Jennifer Mucino-Fernandez, Isabella Kim, Riley Marx, Alexandria Zuleta-Visser, Samantha Ensign, Isabella Frederick, Grace Lum, Gabrielle Sasai, LaNola Shepherd and Cham Chung.

Still only 19, Kaufhold has now won six national titles in a row. She said "You obviously want to keep the streak going but pressure for me was more so thinking it's Olympic Trials, because the first time I did Olympic Trials, we started when I was 15 and 15-year-old Casey knew what was going on but not as much as 19-year-old Casey does, so I just felt I was really aware. That added a little bit more pressure. Yesterday I felt it a lot. Today I dealt with it a lot better."

Kaufhold and GNoriega were followed in the qualification by 15-year-old Akshara Vijay. Another 15-year-old made the top 16 in Cham Chung, as did 16-year-old Isabella Kim.

The first three names on each list claimed gold, silver and bronze respectively in the Target Nationals portion of the event.

National titles were claimed elsewhere by Nick Kappers (compound men), Paige Pearce (compound women), Robby Weissinger (barebow men) and Diane Cochran (barebow women).

Across the various masters categories, there was success for Mark Williams (recurve 50+ men), Janis Grellner (recurve 50+ women), Thomas Stevenson Jr. (recurve 60+ men), Amy Clawson (recurve 60+ women), Buzz Hooker (recurve 70+ men), Angie Olds (recurve 70+ women), Tim Gillingham (compound 50+ men), Deanna Cronin (compound 50+ women), Matthew Setzer (compound 60+ men), Alanna Dunaway (compound 60+ women), Richard Theilig (compound 70+ men), Spanky Brooks (barebow 50+ men) and Sabrina Harrigan (barebow 50+ women).

Gold also went the way of Kevin Mather (recurve open men), Candice Caesar (recurve open women), KJ Polish (compound open men), Wendy Gardner (compound open women), Jason Tabansky (W1 open) and Janice Walth (VI). Tabansky increased his own national record in the W1 men category, shooting 1251/1440 (pending verification).

The U.S. Open gets underway on Saturday, with scores from the USA Archery Target Nationals helping shape the seedings for eliminations.

Ellison said, “It’s going to be a really good next two days. I will try and win the (U.S.) Open tomorrow and then 15 matches on Sunday. Hopefully shoot well in both of them because that's going to be good practice going into the World Cup Final next week."

It was a double gold day for Ellison. He partnered with Abigail Kippes to win the recurve mixed team. Sydney Sullenberger and Isaac Sullivan - Team Sully - took gold in the compound mixed team event.

All of the latest scores and results can be found on BetweenEnds, with action images added daily throughout the event.

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