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NEWBERRY, Florida - The 2016 Easton Foundations Gator Cup drew to a close this afternoon with the completion of recurve eliminations and all medal matches. For many young archers, this was a great experience to shoot on a big stage for a cheering audience.
Meghan Collins (High Springs, Florida) and Alexandria Zuleta-Visser (Orlando, Florida) won gold and silver respectively for the recurve cadet women. "We've been friends for years, we're both from Florida, and last night at dinner we were talking about how she ranked first and I ranked second," commented an excited Collins after an intensely close match. "We were like 'We're going to go to the gold medal match and we're going to make it a shoot off - make it interesting,' and that's exactly what happened."
Zuleta-Visser agreed: "We got what we wished for. We're really happy that we're both walking out with medals, representing Florida."
Long time teammates and competitors Reo Wilde (Pocatello, Idaho) and Steve Anderson (Salt Lake City, Utah) also competed head to head for the gold. Wilde took the win 149-148: "I knew if I put three in, I couldn't lose so that was kind of it. Steve was shooting good and he had a good pace and so it was just kinda put them in the middle and hope for the best. It was fun to have my girls here," commented Wilde on having his wife and two beautiful young daughters in his cheering section. "It's always nice when I get to win and they're here and I get to share it with them."
"I felt like I shot good throughout the match," commented Anderson. "I shot my last six [arrows] in the ten to put the pressure on Reo and he responded with tens and didn't miss, and that's that - you can't be upset about a good score that didn't go your way."
Jamie Van Natta (Toledo, Ohio) was stoked about her gold finish in the compound women's division. "It feels really good. I had kind of a rough start to this season and a rough couple of years so it feels good to just put down a solid score and a solid medal match. I didn't make any big mistakes, I felt really confident going in and I felt really confident coming out so that's really what I was looking for from today."
For many of the recurve seniors, today was not only a heated contest for gold, but also a warm up for tomorrow with the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Archery, final nomination shoot. Brady Ellison (Globe, Arizona) and Jacob Wukie (Fremont, Ohio), who are currently in the top 3 for the Trials, competed for the Gator Cup Champion title. Ellison took the win 6-0 and finished with a perfect 30.
Ellison commented: "It was a good match, it was a lot windier this afternoon and a bit trickier. I felt like I read the wind well and made some good shots and was just able to shoot really well for the conditions. [Wukie] opened the door a little bit for me and I was able to close it behind me. I think it's going to be an intense Trials, I think we have a lot of people shooting really good. I don't feel like anything is locked up yet and tomorrow morning's elimination rounds are going to be key to starting to solidify spots."
Khatuna Lorig (West Hollywood, California) is looking to make her sixth Olympic Team and has a few spots to climb in the rankings this weekend. She finished with the gold over Anna Miscione (Ramona, California). Lorig commented: "It was great practice and it was my goal this morning to get my confidence. That's what we're doing the next two days - lots of match play so I did really well today and I'm really happy."
Complete results from today can be found here. Results from the remainder of the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Archery, final nomination shoot are also available here. For more, follow USA Archery on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more.
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