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April 15, 2023

Word from the winners' circle on a golden day two of the Arizona Cup

PHOENIX – It was a good day at the Arizona Cup for the Ellison family, with Toja taking gold in the compound senior women’s division and husband Brady bagging bronze in the recurve men’s competition.

For Toja it was a third success, having claimed the crown in 2016 and 2018, while Brady fell short in his attempt to win the event for a fifth successive time. Gold in the men’s recurve went to Jackson Mirich, who finished second – behind Brady – in Friday’s qualification.

“I’m pretty happy with how I performed,” said Arizona native Mirich. “But it’s always a challenge with these guys. They always shoot so well. I think I just came out lucky on this one.”

Brady Ellison was denied a spot in the gold medal match, losing a one arrow shoot-off with Jacob Wukie. Mirich then cemented first place with back-to-back 30s in ends three and four for a 6-2 win.

Toja had more to contend with than most on her way to victory in Arizona. Son Ty was in the crowd, and could be heard early on, clearly keen for his mom’s attention.

“Every mom will agree with that, you know that it’s your kid,” admitted Toja. “I know there are several children on this field, but I just knew it was Ty.

“Those moments are hard because you feel it into your bones. I felt it on the line but had to regroup, (shoot) my three arrows, and then went and gave him a kiss and he was fine.”

There was drama in the men’s compound bracket. Kris Schaff, coming off his best indoor season, defeated defending champion James Lutz via a shoot-off.

Schaff said, “The gold medal match against Jimmy was probably one of the better gold medal matches I’ve ever been a part of.”

A number of archers were hot footing it to the airport soon after the medal ceremonies to make sure they are on the line in Turkey this week for the Archery World Cup in Antalya, starting on Monday. Among them was Casey Kaufhold, who reclaimed the recurve senior women’s title, having won it in 2019 and 2021. Kaufhold defeated second seed Jennifer Mucino-Fernandez 7-3 in the gold medal match.

Kaufhold commented, “I’m happy with how my matches went, but I think my level needs to come up a little bit to be internationally competitive. This was a good start to the season, first outdoor tournament, and I’ll go up from here.”

On the barebow field, Marcus Cooley maintained the fine form that sealed him the top seed in qualification to claim the barebow men’s title. Johana Czako took gold in the barebow women’s division.

The top two seeds met in the barebow 50+ men’s bracket, with number one Richard Stonebraker taking it 6-0 from Steve Oakley. The barebow 50+ women’s title was won by Barbara Carroll in another battle of the leading seeds.

There was victory in the compound 50+ for fifth seed Larry Butterfield, with a surprise upset of second seed Andre Shelby. The women’s 50+ compound was won by top seed Deanna Cronin, who looks to reign supreme for yet another season.

The recurve 50+ men’s gold went to Ron Gosnell, and the women’s to Janis Grellner.

Results from the AAE Arizona Cup can be found on Between Ends. There is also a photo gallery from each day of competition.

There will be a livestream of the U21 compound and recurve gold medal matches on USA Archery’s YouTube channel at 2pm local time on Sunday afternoon.

Remaining USAT Schedule

Easton Foundations Gator Cup: May 12-14
Easton Foundations SoCal Showdown: June 9-11
Rebel Gear Buckeye Classic: July 28-30

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