Colorado Springs, CO - Colorado Springs - the home of the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Archery - seems a fitting setting for the Final Nomination Shoot of the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Archery. On Sunday afternoon, USA Archery will nominate three women and three men, plus one alternate per gender, to the U.S. Olympic Team.
With Pike's Peak towering majestically in the background, archers participated in official practice today at The Grace Center for Athletics. Despite intermittent showers and a variable breeze, the sixteen men and women who comprise the Shadow Team were seen hitting the gold consistently, a sure sign that competition may be even fiercer this weekend than it was at the previous two Trials events.
In first place on the women's side is Miranda Leek (IA), the nineteen year old powerhouse who has shot her way to the highly-coveted number one spot. Two-time Olympian Jennifer Nichols (WY) and four-time Olympian Khatuna Lorig (CA) are close behind in a tough race for the top position. Close behind in the top five are Resident Athletes Heather Koehl (WI) and Kristin Braun (CA). Lori Cieslinski (MI) and her student, Holly Stover (MI) occupy the sixth and seventh spots, while newcomer and Junior Dream Team member Mackenzie Brown (TX) holds eighth.
The U.S. has qualified just one women's spot for London, though the three women nominated to the team will compete in the Final Olympic Qualification Tournament in Ogden, where they will attempt to qualify a full team by virtue of a top three finish in that event on June 21. If they are unsuccessful, only the top-ranked female athlete from the Olympic Trials will compete in the Olympic Games.
On the men's side, number one world ranked archer and Olympian Brady Ellison (AZ) is holding down the top spot; teammate and fellow Resident Athlete Jake Kaminski (NY) is making a strong run at his first Olympic Team in the second spot. In third is Jacob Wukie (OH), the 2008 Olympic Team alternate; Joe Fanchin (CA), also a Resident Athlete, is holding fourth. Five-time Olympian Butch Johnson (CT) will need a strong finish this weekend to crack the top four; he is followed by Dan Schuller (PA), Thomas Stanwood (MA) and three time Olympian Vic Wunderle (NC). The U.S. has qualified a full men's team for London already.
Live scoring is expected to be available for at least part of this weekend's event, which opens with a Ranking Round tomorrow morning, followed by an Elimination Round in the afternoon, and Round Robin matches all day on Sunday. Archers will earn ranking points (which are cumulative) for performances in each of these events as well as for their three-arrow average score during the Round Robin matches. For complete information, results, updated standings throughout the event and a preview, visit http://www.teamusa.org/USA-Archery/Events/2012/June/01/US-Olympic-Team-Trials-Third-Nomination-Shoot.aspx. You can also follow @usaarchery on Twitter and USA Archery on Facebook for up to the minute updates, photos and more.
This event is free and open to the public, and media credentialing is available pursuant to the USOC News Access Guidelines. An informal, in-person media availability will follow the Trials on Sunday immediately after the team nomination announcement.