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April 01, 2022

Youth Archers Kick Off Biggest USAT Event with Impressive Scores

PHOENIX, Arizona – The Arizona Cup made history today as the biggest United States Archery Team Qualifier Series Event with just shy of 700 archers taking the field for competition. Sunny skies set the stage for some serious shooting. Several new faces topped the charts in the youth qualification rounds with great up-and-coming talent on the line.

The recurve U18 divisions were the largest with almost 70 archers in each. Samantha Ensign topped the U18 women in her best USAT showing to date with a 652 that put her well ahead of Cham Chung’s 643 and Akshara Vijay’s 625.

“I struggled a little bit with the wind originally, just kind of getting used to it; it’s a lot different here than at home,” commented Lancaster JOAD’s Ensign. “I was happy I made a lot of strong shots and I did really well.”

On today’s finish, Ensign added: “I’m really excited and really happy; it wasn’t necessarily something I expected. I knew I shot well for myself, but I didn’t know where the other girls were. I’m really looking forward to matches.”

Joshua Baek’s 667 was a strong standout for the U18 recurve men, nearly 20 points clear of the second and third place qualifiers Francisco Octavio Padilla and Chanyoung Mun.

Coming off strong finishes at the USA Archery Indoor Nationals Final just weeks ago, Eunice H. Choi and Venugopal Kunnavakkam qualified first for the U21 recurve divisions; Kunnavakkam, a collegiate archer for Texas A&M University, had a 21-point lead over Benjamin Hur with a 641 finish and Choi was nearly 30 points ahead of Michelle Ahn and Jordan Marie Meiners with a 620.

Bodie Turner has had a stellar season shooting a perfect score at the Lancaster Classic and winning the Vegas Shoot. The Arizona Cup marks only his second USAT event and his 703 easily topped the U21 compound men’s qualification round, coming out ahead of Isaac Sullivan and Andrew Hilden.

“I just came out here to try and figure out a wind technique and I think I got it figured out pretty good, at least a lot better than last year,” shared Turner. “It was a fun day, a lot better than sitting at home, and actually I’d be in school right now. Tomorrow is going to be a lot of fun too.”

Bella Otter, Sydney Sullenberger and Makenzie Weatherspoon led the U21 compound women’s round with 681, 677 and 673 respectively. Scores were tight among the U18 compound men with Colton Lash, Tyler Thomas and Dewey Hathaway coming out on top with 689, 686 and 684.

Liko Arreola has had some perfect scores this past indoor season, but as winds picked up this morning, she fell off world record pace for the U18 compound women. Nonetheless, an impressive 694 gives her the top seed headed into tomorrow’s matches.

Youth barebow and fixed pins divisions are new to the USAT series and Jack Calo and Anastacia Godman topped the U21 barebow qualification with 275 and 518 respectively. Erin Heyob’s 551 put her almost 200 points clear of the rest of the U18 barebow field and Bryce Henak was the top men’s qualifier with 471. Clay Dempsey and Matthew Ebner are the first U21 fixed pins archers and Dempsey’s 663 put him in first for the ranking round.

Tournament Chair and USA Archery Arizona President Kristy Wapniarski commented: “We’re thrilled to once again start the USAT series and to see so many faces out here. USA Archery Arizona is so proud of the legacy of this event and we’ve worked hard to do it justice this year. We are excited to welcome archers from 8 countries and 48 states to the Arizona Cup and wish everyone a great weekend of competition.”

Competition continues tomorrow morning with the senior and 50+ qualification rounds and the youth divisions will shoot head-to-head elimination matches in the afternoon. The senior gold medal finals will stream live on Sunday afternoon on USA Archery. Complete results from the competition are available on Between Ends and official photos are on USA Archery’s SmugMug.

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