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NEWBERRY, Florida - Competition began today for the U.S. National Outdoor Collegiate Championships with qualification and mixed team eliminations. A sudden downpour cut qualification short by just a few arrows, but the sun returned for the afternoon session and mixed team eliminations could continue as planned. The competition was heated and heartwarming storylines filled the field.
As barebow nation continues to grow increasingly cutthroat in talent, the camaraderie on the field has steadily risen as well. In a surprising semifinal, historical headliners UCSD and UCLA were upset by Hocking College and UC Davis. UC Davis, after winning a semifinal shoot off went on to take the gold. After sealing the victory, Markham Anderson commented: "I felt like throwing up my heart." On his team's success, he added: "We actually practice team rounds during normal practice and like to compete against other people on the team."
Jamie Lagman agreed: "We like to compare ourselves to what we know we can do rather than what the team next to us is doing, so we do the best we can and focus on what we know we're capable of. Winning today was really unexpected, we just came out here to have fun and then we went on to win gold!"
Hocking College archers also took silver in the bowhunter division, falling only to Texas A&M in the gold final. The same result - A&M gold and Hocking silver - was the podium for the compound field. Rebekah Matthews was thrilled to be on the podium with Hunter White. "It was intense. Texas A&M shot lights out," Rebekah commented. "I think they only dropped four points out of the whole time. It was insane, just seeing them shoot and going up against them and then actually being able to compete with them."
In an early round with James Madison University, one JMU archer's release flew out of her hand. Without hesitation Hunter handed her his release so she could finish shooting the end. He commented: "I know that if something like that happened to me, how I would feel, and I would want someone else to do the same thing. I didn't want to see somebody have to go through that."
Local archers and siblings Chris and Julia Francis teamed up to represent Santa Fe College in competition today. Both just graduated college: "I got a computer degree and she studied stage acting," commented Chris. Despite different academic interests, both have a love for archery and their older sister, Amye is also on the field competing for the University of Florida and their mother, Tracey is serving as a judge.
Chris added: "It was a lot of fun shooting together, especially since this is where we live. It helps to have it be a family affair; we all know what's going on and support each other." The Santa Fe duo finished 4th in an exciting bracket as Arizona State University took gold over Texas A&M University and UCSD won bronze.
Also proud to finish in the final four was Lock Haven University. As the first woman on the team, making this LHU's mixed team debut, Erika Myers commented: "It's pretty cool being the first girl on the team. I had only ever hunted before college, but then I met the guys and they introduced me to target archery and I really liked it."
"It's pretty exciting," added teammate Jacob Humes. "Finishing 4th in the nation sounds pretty good!"
Complete results from the event and live scores are available on USA Archery's dedicated Live Results page. Photos each day are posted to USA Archery's photo site, and make sure to follow USA Archery on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more from the event.
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