Phoenix, AZ - Today's elimination round match play - the final day of competition in the AAE Arizona Cup World Ranking Event - showcased the talents of several top-ranked archers, despite surprising results in some early matches. While archers from fifteen different countries were present, all of today's gold medals in the major categories were awarded to U.S. archers: Brady Ellison (AZ) for men's recurve, Miranda Leek (IA) in women's recurve, Reo Wilde (ID) for men's compound, and Jamie Van Natta (OH) for women's compound.
Mexico and Venezuela also had strong showings in the finals, with Elias Malave (VEN) shooting his way to the gold medal match after pushing past five time Olympian Butch Johnson (CT) in the semifinals; Johnson went on to defeat Jake Kaminski (CA), taking the bronze 7-3 from the number nine world ranked archer, while Malave could not stop Olympian Ellison, who won the gold after an exciting 6-5 match and one point tiebreak win.
In the women's recurve, Leek claimed her first-ever Arizona Cup title after a 6-0 shutout win over Mexico's Mariana Avitia, who won the silver after edging out Mackenzie Brown (TX) in the semifinals; Brown made her Arizona Cup finals debut shooting as a junior. Brown went on to face Mexico's Aida Roman for the bronze medal, but Olympian Roman proved impossible to defeat, claiming the bronze, 6-4.
Surprising early exits in the competition on the recurve side included 1/8 round losses for Olympic hopeful Jacob Wukie (OH), Olympic medalist Victor Wunderle, Pan Am Games Team member Heather Koehl (WI), Olympian Jennifer Nichols (WY) and four-time Olympian Khatuna Lorig (CA); and quarterfinals endings for Kristin Braun (CA) and Joseph Fanchin (CA).
For the compound archers, it was a suspenseful fight to the finish, with several close matches on both men's and women's sides. Junior Paige Pearce (CA) faced multi-time world record holder Van Natta in the semis, with Van Natta taking the win. Tristan Skarvan (WI) edged Christie Colin (PA) in the semis by just two points. In the bronze medal match, Pearce took the win by four points, 144 to Colin's 140, while it was a win for Van Natta in the gold medal final, 141 to 138 to give Skarvan the silver.
In the compound men's semifinals, Wilde met World Cup Champion Rodger Willett, Jr. (VA); Willett was unable to stop multi-time World Champion Wilde, who took the match, 148-143. Dave Cousins (ME) had a tied match with recent Vegas Champion Jesse Broadwater (PA); the two drew the match at 142-all, but Cousins took the tiebreaker with a closer 9. In the gold medal contest, Wilde shot a 147 to Cousins' 141 to win the gold; Broadwater took the bronze from Willett by just one point, 145-144.
The winners in these categories were awarded not only medals but also cash prizes, thanks to an Easton Foundations grant to USA Archery. Gold medalists were awarded $1000; silver received $500; and bronze medalists earned $250. Complete results are available at http://ianseo.net/Details.php?toId=252; the United States Archery Team (USAT) Qualifier Series picks up next month with the Easton Foundations Gator Cup, beginning April 19 in Newberry, FL. Follow USA Archery on Facebook and on Twitter for updates throughout this exciting Olympic season. Photos from the event will be posted shortly on this website.