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June 09, 2024

Williams turns to Turkey after SoCal success while Pearce puts a stop to her silver streak

Jack Williams warmed up for the upcoming Final Qualifying Tournament (FQT), with quota slots for the Olympic Games on offer, as he claimed gold in recurve men at the 2024 Easton Foundations SoCal Showdown in Chula Vista, Calif.

Williams had made his way to the final with wins over Brady Ellison, who will be his teammate in Turkey for the FQT and Gator Cup silver medalist Christian Stoddard, before getting the better of Gabe Anderson 6-0.

“I’ve been really prepared,” Williams said after his victory. “I’ve tried some new stuff and the emphasis now is on making sure everything is totally dialed in for the 15th, which is when we will know for a fact that we’re going (to the Olympic Games), so that’s the only thing that has been on my radar so far.”

In the recurve women, Casey Kaufhold continued her stranglehold on the SoCal Showdown. The champion from 2022 and 2023 proved too strong for Gaby Schloesser (NED), winning 6-0. Aida Roman Arroyo took bronze.

Kaufhold will be part of the USA team to compete in the Hyundai Archery World Cup Stage 3, which takes place in Turkey later this month. She will travel to Turkey early with Jennifer Mucino-Fernandez and Catalina GNoriega. The trio have already secured their spots for the Paris Games but are keen to lend support to the Williams, Ellison and Trenton Cowles.

“Last time it was both of us shooting in the FQT,” Kaufhold began. “So now it’s a different dynamic, only having one team and we don’t want them to feel like they’re not being supported, being there by themselves, so I think it’s important that we’re coming together as Team USA to support each other.”

For the previous four editions of the SoCal Showdown, former world champion Paige Pearce has left with the silver medal in the compound women category. That run ended on Sunday afternoon as she defeated Olivia Dean to claim gold.

Dean had won the opening two USAT Qualifier Series events of the year and fought hard to make it a hat-trick, only to find Pearce unwilling to step aside. Pearce was winner of the SoCal Showdown in 2019, before her run of silver medals.

“I heard him (commentator George Tekmitchov) say it, as we were getting ready to walk to the line,” Pearce admitted with a smile. “I’m glad I did, because I told myself ‘not again’.

“Every year here I feel like I’m prepared. The final is always more windy than what we’re used to shooting, and I feel like hearing that from George was a bit of a reset for me. I was like, I don’t want silver, put your arrows in the middle, it’s not that hard.”

Pearce and Dean were tied up after three ends, only for Pearce to step it up with two maximums to win by three points, 147-144. Tanja Gellenthien took bronze.

Cincy Czako, like Dean, came into this event having won in Arizona and Florida, and she made it three for three as she defeated top seed Diane Cochran 6-0 in the barebow women. Bronze went to Shenlan Guan.

Bodie Turner toppled Mr. Perfect, the world number one Mike Schloesser (NED) in the final of the compound men. The second end proved to be the difference. As Turner notched his second maximum, Schloesser could only score 28. The archers matched one another the rest of the way, allowing Turner to triumph 146-144. Sawyer Sullivan was the bronze medal winner.

Top seed in the barebow men, Raymond Huang (CAN) fought his way to gold, overcoming Chris Garcia in a one arrow shoot off. Garcia, a winner at last week’s USA Archery Field Nationals in Indiana and bronze medalist at last year’s SoCal Showdown, led 4-2 after three ends, only for Huang to force the shoot off and complete the comeback.

Earlier, the top seeds triumphed in recurve 50+ women, as well as compound 50+ men and women. Nicole Rasor claimed gold in the recurve. Another Arizona-based archer, Kenneth Brunko, claimed gold in the compound 50+ men, with Alanna Dunaway topping the podium in compound 50+ women. For Brunko, it means back-to-back success at SoCal Showdown.

Ali Gungoraydinoglu took gold in the recurve 50+ men after a 7-1 win over Larry Anderson. Tom Stevenson’s return to competitive archery was rewarded with bronze.

Johannes Gildenhuys defeated top seed Stephen Hilger on his way to winning gold in the barebow 50+ men. Hilger picked up bronze, with Bob Carroll taking silver.

And in the barebow 50+ women, Lisa Sullivan successfully defended her title, beating Petula Workman. Barbara Carroll came away with silver and Phyllis Shipman repeated her 2023 performance with the bronze.

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