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CHULA VISTA, California - At the second nomination shoot for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Archery, today started round robin matches, where each archer shoots a head to head match against each other archer. Match wins and a cumulative three-arrow average factor into the standings for the Trials, so the day can be pretty stressful, especially for parents in the stands watching their children literally taking aim at their goals and leaving it all on the line.
Brady Ellison is competing to make his third U.S. Olympic Team and his mother, Julie Nichols, is no stranger to this pressure. "The second stage of the trials is always the hardest for me," she commented. "It's where we have to make some really hard cuts. I usually cry because so many of the archers out here have been training for this for four years or more and they've been shooting with Brady - I wish they all could make the top 8 or the top 3, but there are only so many spots."
On Brady's success in the past two days and moving into the top seat for the Trials so far, Julie added: "He's so focused, it's good to see that, we could hear him laughing and saw him shooting so well, we're just so proud of him."
Lisa McLaughlin, mother of twins Daniel and Sean McLaughlin, echoed: "It's awesome to be here, it's also at times nerve-wracking, but it's fun. I get nervous for them; it's different having two kids shooting because we're so proud of both of them and they've been working really hard, but when they shoot against each other, that's the hard part. I usually take a little walk and say a prayer: 'God, you know which one needs this more than the other one does.' We believe they'll both be in the top 8 and then from there we're just going to be so proud of them and how far they've come."
Mackenzie Brown, who is still leading the women's side of the trials, showed up with a strong cheering section: her mom and 11-year old sister. Her mom, Stacey Brown commented on the day: "It's harder to watch round robins for sure - it's more intense head to head, one on one whereas in qualification everyone is doing the same thing at the same time."
On being a parent at the Trials, she added: "From the parent's point of view, you want your child to succeed and to do well. My job is to provide encouragement and snacks, that's all I can do to help her, that's my main job here. My dream for Mackenzie is the same as hers, to make it to the Olympics and to come back with a medal. That's been her goal for the past 10 years, she's worked very hard for it and like any parent I want her to achieve that goal so that would be the ultimate for her and us too for all the sacrifices all of us have made."
Rilie Brown was also enthusiastic about being at the event: "I'm very proud of Mackenzie. I've been her biggest fan since the day I was born. My favorite thing about watching Mackenzie shoot is that I can see how far the other archers, and Mackenzie too, have come in archery."
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