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PHOENIX, Ariz. – After a grueling day of archery under the Arizona sun, 24 archers emerged to represent Team USA at the World Archery Youth Championships in Limerick, Ireland in July.
Staged at the Ben Avery Archery Range north of Phoenix, around 200 competitors started out with a single 72-arrow round, from which each division was cut to eight archers. The afternoon involved seven round robin matches, which garnered cumulative points along with arrow average and other bonus points to determin the team for Ireland.
There was drama in both the recurve U18 men’s and women’s divisions, with archers tied for third in both fields, requiring a shoot off, which was won by Joshua Baek in the men’s and Riley Tateyama in the women’s.
The USA will face more than 60 countries at the World Archery Youth Championships, with Korea and India expected to present particular challenges. That said, the USA will be packed with talent, and experience.
“This will be my fourth World Youth Championship,” said 19-year-old Casey Kaufhold, who topped the recurve U21 women’s trials standings. “Each year I feel that I’ve done better. This year is my last year in the age group, so I think this is my year to win it and I’m looking forward to it.”
With so many good, young archers, the USA will head to Ireland full of confidence. For many of the archers, they are used to competing on an individual basis, even as a team for their club or college, but Sawyer Sullivan, who took second in the team trials in the compound U21 men, admits representing your country is something special.
“When you have USA across your chest and across your back, it’s a different feeling,” Sullivan said. “The first time I did it, it was overwhelming almost. The best is when you hear the national anthem after you’ve won.”
With that in mind, USA archery fans will, therefore, be hoping The Star-Spangled Banner is heard quite a bit at this year’s World Archery Youth Championships. Follow Team USA in Ireland this summer as they compete July 3-9.
USA Team for the 2023 World Archery Youth Championships is listed below, pending official confirmation.
*Jordan Marie Meiners