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DUBLIN, Ohio – The sun shone strong, the arrows flew true and the tears flowed freely as the Buckeye Classic ended on Sunday with breathtaking sport.
Jordan Graham – a member of Ace Archers, hosts of the Buckeye Classic – could not contain his emotion at the end of his riveting 6-2 victory over Rick Stonebraker in the barebow men.
A teary Graham said on winning his home tournament, “I’m so proud to get my first win. I’ve worked so hard for this.
“My whole family’s back there (watching), my kids, my beautiful wife, my best friends, thank you.
“I’m so, so honored to be a gold medalist. I can’t tell you, with all my heart. Anybody can win in this class on any given day, and this is just an amazing feeling.”
Trenton Cowles played an almost faultless match to win gold in the recurve men, and he had to as double Olympic champion Justin Huish rolled back the years, almost 27 years to the day since his golden success in Atlanta, with some outstanding archery.
The Texas A&M archer was almost at a loss for words after his 6-4 win over the legendary Huish, saying through his broad smile, “We were both on every single arrow and I just had to stick to my process, continue breathing and one after another, not worry what he’s shooting, not worry what I’m shooting. That was an insane match.”
Paige Pearce finally got her hand on gold medal in the 2023 USAT Qualifier Series events, after silver at SoCal Showdown and Gator Cup. She got the better of Danelle Wentzel-Lutz in Ohio 145-142 in the compound women.
“You know every time you come here that it’s going to be tough,” she admitted. “Just making it to one of these medal matches, you feel like you won and then you have to come out here and actually try to win.
“These are a little bit of my nemesis. I’ve been in each gold final this year, against a different person, and this is the first one I won – I took second in the other two (I entered) – so it feels good to get this under my belt.”
Sawyer Sullivan will arrive in Berlin (via New York and Amsterdam) for next week’s World Archery Championships full of confidence after seeing off Grady Kane – the 20th seed and in his first event as a senior – 147-144 in the compound men.
Kane – a bronze medalist at the World Archery Youth Championships in Ireland earlier this month – beat the number one seed Stephan Hansen in the semifinals, and pushed Sullivan all the way.
Isabella Frederick held her nerve to see off the surge from Megan McDonough in the recurve women. She had her 4-0 lead wiped out, only for McDonough to drop a five with her final arrow to lose the final set 23-22 for a 6-4 loss.
The barebow women’s gold medal went to Maggie Brensinger. Brensinger admitted to having added motivation in defeating newcomer Francesca Benavidez 6-2 in the semifinals. Benavidez set a new U18 and U21 world record (pending verification) at the JOAD Target Nationals earlier this month, a record set by Brensinger last September.
Brensinger – who was victorious at Gator Cup in May – saw off Diane Cochran 6-0 in the gold medal match at the Buckeye Classic.
The United States Archery Team (USAT) Qualifier Series are outdoor archery tournaments that deliver a high level of excitement and competition! USAT Qualifier Series Events are open to archers who are seeking national competition experience and want the excitement of competing alongside World Champions and Olympic medalists.