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June 06, 2024

Titles to fight for as the USAT Qualifier Series continues with the SoCal Showdown

Another top quality field has assembled for the latest USAT Qualifier Series event, with the 2024 Easton Foundations SoCal Showdown set to start on the grounds of the Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center on Friday.

Unofficial practice concluded under blue skies and sunshine on Thursday. Among those getting their first feel of conditions were Brady Ellison and Paige Pearce, winners earlier this week at the 2024 USA Archery Field Nationals in Indiana, as well as Easton Foundations Gator Cup winners Matthew Nofel (recurve men) and Olivia Dean (compound women).

This will be the third of four USAT events, with the AAE Arizona Cup and Gator Cup already consigned to the record books.

Three fields are in use during the event, which finishes on Sunday afternoon with senior gold medal matches across barebow, compound and recurve. These will be broadcast live on USA Archery’s Facebook and You Tube channel from 2pm PT.

Friday will begin with official practice for all U18 and U21 divisions, before they get stuck into qualifications. The afternoon session will involve official practice for senior and 50+ divisions. Their qualification rounds take place on Saturday. The full schedule for this year’s SoCal Showdown can be found HERE.

Ellison is defending champion in the recurve men’s division, having defeated Gabe Anderson in the gold medal match last year. In fact, the 35-year-old has not been beaten at this event since losing to Andrew Parker at the quarterfinal stage in 2020.

Casey Kaufhold is seeking a hat-trick of wins in the recurve women’s division, and a fourth triumph in five attempts. Her last defeat in Chula Vista came at the hands of Mackenzie Brown in 2021. Kaufhold had to settle for silver that year, having won the SoCal Showdown for the first time in 2020, when beating Brown, herself the defending champion.

James Lutz was the beaten finalist in last month’s Gator Cup but arrives in California as champion in compound men the last three occasions. Braden Gellenthien, winner of gold at Gator Cup, is the last archer aside from Lutz to have won in that category.

Teenager Olivia Dean has won both Arizona Cup and Gator Cup this year in the compound women division. Pearce arrives with Field Nationals success still ringing in her ears and having won this event previously. The compound ace won in 2019 and has taken silver the last four times. On two of those occasions, Alexis Ruiz has been the one to grab gold, and will be in Chula Vista to defend her title in 2024.

Jacob Robinson, who won the recurve U21 men in 2023, is now competing with the seniors. Charvika Gopi returns to defend her recurve U21 women’s title, as does Chanyoung Mun in the recurve U18 men.

Kenneth Brunko is back to defend his crown in the compound 50+ men. Brunko was also bronze medalist in 2022. In the compound 50+ women, Tamara Fontenot returns seeking gold once again. Like Brunko, she was also bronze medalist in 2022.

In the recurve open men, 15-year-old Jordan White competes on the national stage for the first time since securing his spot for the 2024 Paralympic Games at last month’s trials in Florida.

Marcus Cooley is the archer to topple in barebow men, having won gold 12 months ago. It is clearly an event he enjoys. Cooley was also winner in 2022.

Photos from the SoCal Showdown will be posted at the end of each session. Latest scores and results can be found on Between Ends.

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