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May 10, 2024

Easton Foundations Gator Cup up and running with U18 and U21 archers

NEWBERRY, Fla. – Qualification took place on Friday at the 2024 Easton Foundations Gator Cup for the U18 and U21 men and women across barebow, compound, fixed pins and recurve. This is the second of four USAT Qualifier Series events.

Joshua Baek, silver medalist in the recurve U18 men in 2023, is the top seed in the U21 division after a score of 639, which was 23 points more than second seed Patrick Nielsen, the man he beat in the semifinals 12 months ago.

In recurve U21 women, the 2023 silver medalist, Michelle Ahn, is ranked third after qualification. Irene Zheng, who was fourth in the 2023 edition, is the eighth seed. Eunice Choi is number one seed after a score of 603.

Carson Chan and Jin Kang – the defending champion – both shot 635 in the recurve U18 men, with Chan emerging as top seed due to hitting more 10s. The category was hotly contested, with just one point separating the leading four archers.

In the recurve U18 women’s competition, two archers set the pace. Ye-eun Whang (634) and Hailey Franzone (630) are number one and two after qualification. They were both more than 20 points clear of the field.

Landyn Cox has stepped up from U18 to U21 in compound men, and is picking up from where he left off in 2023. Cox, from Kentucky, won Gator Cup last year as a U18 and is the number one seed in the U21 division. His score of 690 was seven clear of both Cooper Keane and Landen Witmer.

Fifth seed in the compound U18 women last time out, Ella O’Brien is the number one seed in the U21 women this time around.

Caleb Quiocho, who was among the archers at the 2024 USA Archery Indoor Nationals Final as a 15-year-old, is top seed in compound U18 men.

Two familiar names are the top seeds in the compound U18 women in Catherine Smith and Kaylee Gurney. Gurney was bronze medalist in 2023, while Smith was fourth seed.

Defending champion John Stephens remains the man to beat in barebow U21. He has made his intentions clear with a score of 552 in qualification, 72 points ahead of his nearest challenger, Keegan Benton.

Indoor Nationals Final champion Maggie Brensinger shot a high of 574 in barebow U21 women. AAE Arizona Cup silver medalist Bryce Henak – top seed in the first USAT of the year – is again top seed in Florida.

Ava Jones, who Brensinger beat to claim the Indoor National Final gold medal, is top seed in the barebow U18 women, scoring 66 more points than second seed Carley Thompson.

Allison Roberts leads the way in the fixed pins U21 women, followed by the 2023 silver medalist, Madalynn Puryear. Carl Brooks and Griffin Witty, silver and bronze medal winners from last year, are second and third seeds respectively in the fixed pins U18 men.

In the fixed pins U18 women, Olivia Blanchard, Audrey Overton and Madison Stratton are all back again this year. Stratton is defending champion, with Overton a silver medalist last year. Jeannie Hite, though, is top seed after impressing on Friday morning.

Qualification for seniors, para and masters gets underway on Saturday morning. Eliminations for U18 and U21 will take up the afternoon.

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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