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May 11, 2024

Archers bringing their best at Gator Cup, with Olympic and Paralympic dreams on the line

NEWBERRY, Fla. – Trenton Cowles continued his push for a place on the plane to Paris and the Olympic Games as he shot the top score in the recurve men’s event at the Easton Foundations Gator Cup on Saturday, which also served as Stage 5 of Olympic Team Qualification and Trials.

Cowles scored 673, to be followed by Joonsuh Oh (669) and Brady Ellison (666). Ellison leads the points standings in the Olympic Team Trials on 95.5, with Cowles sitting second (68), having increased his advantage on the chasing pack.

Jack Williams was fourth in Gator Cup qualification and has now moved up to third in the Team Trials standings after Jackson Mirich could only manage 11th in Saturday’s action.

To date, the USA has claimed one quota slot in the men’s division for the Olympic Games. The maximum allowed is three. The Final Qualification Tournament will be held next month with World Cup Stage 3 in Turkey. Remaining quota slots will then be allocated to the host nation and other countries based on team world rankings. (Read the 2024 Olympic Games Qualification System).

On the women’s side, there was no change to standings, with Casey Kaufhold (89.5) leading Jennifer Mucino-Fernandez (68) and Catalina GNoriega (63). Kaufhold is top seed heading into Gator Cup eliminations on Sunday. Mucino-Fernandez finished with the second top score, ahead of Emma Kim. GNoriega is the fifth seed. The USA will send three female archers to Paris for the Olympics.

The sixth and final stage of Olympic Team Qualification and Trials takes place on Monday and Tuesday.

As well as Stage of the Olympic Team Trials, there was also Stage 2 of the Paralympic Team and Qualification Trials taking place.

The USA has acquired five quota slots for the Paralympic Games. They have the maximum two slots in both the recurve men open and compound men open, as well as one slot in the W1 women.

Eric Bennett, seeking a fifth Paralympic Games, tops the recurve open men standings after posting the top score in Gator Cup qualification, earning him the gold. He was followed in qualification by the same three trailing him in the Paralympic standings, Jordan White, Michael Lukow and Kevin Mather.

In the compound open men, KJ Polish – shooting as well as he ever has – is on course for a third Paralympic Games. He took gold after qualification and is top of the standings, followed by Matt Stutzman.

On the women’s side, Wendy Gardner broke her own national record by two points in the compound open women with a score of 674. Candice Caesar finished top of the tree in recurve open women.

The W1 open category has Jason Tabansky awaiting the winner of Tracy Otto and Natalia Rijos on Sunday morning.

Defending champion Mark Williams, from Florida, emerged as top seed in the recurve 50+ men after qualification. Jamie McCarrison will be the archer to chase in recurve 50+ women after finishing top of the pile on Saturday.

One point separated the top two in compound men, with James Lutz shooting 713 and Kyle Douglas 712. It was the same story in the compound women as Alexis Ruiz (704) and Olivia Dean (703) were split by the narrowest of margins.

George Ryals IV led the way in compound 50+ men, with a score of 681 that was four points clear of the next three archers, Brent Brown, Roman Bond and Andre Shelby. In the compound 50+ women, Teresa Wallace is top seed heading into Sunday morning’s eliminations.

Brian Way topped scoring in barebow men with 624, which was 22 more than his nearest challenger. AAE Arizona Cup champion, Cindy Czako has continued where she left off, and is number one seed in the barebow women.

In the barebow 50+ division, the top seeds are Stephen Goode and Darlene Kossler.

Medals were handed out on Saturday in the U18 and U21 divisions.

Top seed Joshua Baek, a silver medalist at U18 level last year, took gold in the recurve U21 men. Eunice Choi, the top seed in the recurve U21 women, also claimed gold.

A one arrow shoot-off was needed to determine the recurve U18 women, with Hailey Franzone taking gold. Aarya Arun came from behind to take gold in the recurve U18 men.

Landyn Cox added compound U21 gold to the U18 men’s title he won at Gator Cup last year, while top seed Ella O’Brien took top honors in compound U21 women.

Caleb Quiocho, who was among the archers at the 2024 USA Archery Indoor Nationals Final as a 15-year-old, is compound U18 men’s champion at Gator Cup. Taylor Miller, the 15th seed, came out on top in the compound U18 women’s event.

Maggie Brensinger marched to victory in the barebow U21 women, with second seed Keegan Benton doing likewise in the barebow U21 men. Jacob Olmstead came from 4-0 down to beat number one seed Bryce Henak 6-4 in the barebow U18 men, while Ava Jones claimed gold in the barebow U18 women.

In a battle of the top two seeds, Madalynn Puryear overcame Allison Roberts to win fixed pins U21 women, going one better than last year. Griffin Witty, bronze medalist in 2023, took gold this time around in the fixed pins U18 men, with Olivia Blanchard upsetting top seed Jeannie Hite to win the U18 women.

The gold medal matches for the senior event will be broadcast live on USA Archery’s Facebook and YouTube channels on Sunday from 2pm EDT.

Latest scores and results can be found on Between Ends, with photos from the 2024 Easton Foundations Gator Cup added after each session.

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