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COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Today's qualification round marked the start of the Texas Shootout, the fourth and final USAT Qualifier Series Event for 2014. With football proving ground Kyle Field a specter in the distance, archers shot 72 arrows under cloudy skies with a variable breeze, hoping to secure favorable bracket positions for tomorrow's head-to-head elimination matchplay.
Compound stars today included Braden Gellenthien (Hudson, Massachusetts), facing a potentially serious forearm injury but qualifying second for the compound men - just behind fellow World Champion Reo Wilde (Pocatello, Idaho), and just ahead of Marc Gruber (Stevens Point, Wisconsin) - with 700 points out of a possible 720.
"I've got two torn muscles in my forearm and it's been a nightmare," Gellenthien explained. "The last week has been maybe 30 arrows per day with a wrist strap [release]. I was able to shoot 72 arrows today with my normal finger release. Since I missed SoCal Showdown, I really needed the [national ranking] points here so that's why it was really important for me to be the best that I could be."
Gellenthien, who could be facing surgery, noted that he would be meeting with physicians this week.
Also shooting strong on the compound side: Sarah Lance (Wyandotte, Michigan), who posted a strong 690 to top the women's qualifications. "I'm truly blessed to have shot so well today," she commented. Compound superstars Erika Jones (Grand Island, Nebraska) and Jamie Van Natta (Toledo, Ohio), qualified second and third, respectively.
For the recurve archers, Sean McLaughlin (Cincinnati, Ohio) found himself in the spotlight after several strong performances on the national scene this season. He qualified first for the recurve men with a 662, followed by Olympic medalists Jake Kaminski (Gainesville, Florida) and Butch Johnson (Woodstock, Connecticut).
Khatuna Lorig (West Hollywood, California) led the recurve women with 639 points. "Not so happy with my scores today, but I did [finish] first in the qualifier at Texas Shootout," she posted to fans. Just behind her: Resident Athlete LaNola Pritchard and Aggie standout Michelle Gilbert.
Para-classified archers were able to qualify in their respective categories for today's round. Leaders included Timothy Palumbo (Buffalo, New York) for recurve standing men; Kinga Kiss-Johnson (McCormick, South Carolina) for recurve standing women; and Teresa Wallace (North Charleston, South Carolina) for recurve W2 women.
On the compound side, top qualifiers were Jeff Sena (Cottage Grove, Oregon) for compound standing men; Paralympic champion Jeff Fabry (Lemoore, California) for compound W1 men; Paralympian Russell Wolfe (Edmond, Oklahoma) for compound W2 men; and Martha Chavez (Lemoore, California) for compound W2 women.
Cadet archers also took to the field today, for qualification and elimination rounds. For the recurve cadet men, Cody Offchiss (Eugene, Oregon) is the gold medalist, while silver went to Gus Braendle (Helotes, Texas), and bronze to Nathan Park (Fullerton, California).
Suzanna Sim (San Jose, California) won the gold medal for the recurve cadet women, just ahead of recent World Archery Field Champion Miriam Trafford (Shreveport, Louisiana). The bronze medal was won by Kellie Heusi (Houston, Texas).
Kolby Hanley (Cambridge, Vermont) clinched the compound cadet men's gold medal, while Dylan Sackschewsky of Castle Rock, Colorado took silver. Samuel White of Thornton, Colorado won bronze.
Cassidy Cox of Albuquerque, New Mexico is the Texas Shootout gold medals for the compound cadet women. Athena Caiopoulos of Irvine, California took silver today, with Kaylee Geist (Colorado Springs, Colorado) winning bronze.
Photos from today's qualifications and cadet eliminations may be found at: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152718957654583.1073741922.122316824582&type=1.
As of press time, results were reported based on online scoring and should be considered unofficial. Follow LIVE scores from tomorrow's head-to-head matchplay at http://www.ianseo.net/Details.php?toId=848. USA Archery will also have coverage throughout the day on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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