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May 12, 2024

Young talent, archery veterans and shoot-offs provide the backdrop to a fitting final day of Gator Cup

NEWBERRY, Fla. – Olivia Dean in compound women and Cindy Czako in barebow women made it back-to-back USAT Qualifier Series success with victory at the 2024 Easton Foundations Gator Cup on Sunday.

Dean defeated Liko Arreola 145-142 in the opening match of an enthralling afternoon, with Czako edging Tracy Ratliff courtesy of a one arrow shoot-off. Czako also needed a shoot-off to win last month’s AAE Arizona Cup.

“I’m making a habit of one arrow shoot-offs, it seems,” said Czako with a smile. Czako defeated Diane Cochran for gold in Phoenix. 

Dean is just 17 years of age, while Arreola is a mere 16. Both are among the top 20 female compound archers in the world.

“Me and Liko have been shooting against one another since we were eight years old,” said Dean. “She’s an amazing shooter and me and her are proving that the young archers can be just as good as the more experienced ones.”

The barebow women’s gold medal match was not the only contest to go to a shoot-off. Spectators were held captivated by some stunning shooting in the recurve men’s final, the last match of this year’s Gator Cup. Matt Nofel rattled off nine 10s in a row to race into a 5-1 lead. The 18-year-old Christian Stoddard fought back to force the shootoff, which Nofel claimed.

“This whole competition has been about focusing on my shot, my technique, so those shots executed well and found their way to the middle,” Nofel said.

Elsewhere, Braden Gellenthien rolled back the years to win the compound men’s event, defeating James Lutz 147-145. Scores were level heading into the final end, with Gellenthien the one to come out on top. The legendary archer no longer competes internationally as he embarks on a new chapter in his life, but he clearly has lost none of the quality that put him among the best in the world for so many years.

Two archers who will this week be battling for a spot on the USA Olympic team went head-to-head in the recurve women’s final. Catalina GNoriega and Jennifer Mucino-Fernandez were tied at 4-4, with a fifth end required, which Mucino-Fernandez took for victory.

In the barebow men’s gold medal match, Brian Sway put on something of a master class as he overcame Alex de Vera 6-0.

Earlier in the day, Mark Williams retained his title in the recurve 50+ men with victory over Ali Gungoraydinoglu.

Janet Flenner denied top seed Jamie McCarrison a comeback win, responding in the fifth end to triumph 6-4, having led 4-0.

Compound 50+ golds went to Richard Burkett Jr. and Tamara Fontenot. Burkett Jr., a member of the 2024 USAT in the compound open men’s division, was strong from start to finish as he beat Brent Brown, the number two seed. Fontenot beat Brenda Bond 138-127.

Two Florida archers took top honors in the barebow 50+ division, with golds going home with both Randall Addington and Vickie Johnson. Jason Tabansky claimed gold in the W1 Open.

You will find all the results from the 2024 Easton Foundations Gator Cup on Between Ends, with action photos from the event found HERE.

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