Gator Cup Crowns Champions as New Talent Emerges
NEWBERRY, Fla. – It didn’t take crazy weather to produce
surprises during eliminations at the Easton Foundations Gator Cup – just
emerging archery talent and a few key upsets that could shake up the national
Cadet archers shot the first elimination rounds of the
event, which were held immediately following yesterday’s qualifications.
Results showed strong talent emerging in both recurve and compound divisions.
On the recurve side, Ryan Oliver, the number one qualifier,
shot his way to a gold medal victory versus a tough opponent in Hardy Trafford,
7-3, while Gus Braendle won bronze over James Newberry. Both Oliver and
Trafford have been World Championship team members, and members of the Junior
Dream Team. Oliver, who just turned 14, is shooting in a division comprised of
mostly 15-17 year old archers.
really good to win Gator Cup because I've been working really hard to improve
my game and process and I'm happy it's finally paying off,” explained Oliver.
“I learned how to handle myself when shooting in higher pressure situations and
how to execute great shots during the really close matches.”
In the recurve cadet women’s category, Eliana Claps won the
gold medal title, facing top qualifier Caity Farr in the final. It was a
shutout victory for Claps, who has proven herself with several podium finishes
at national events. Miriam Trafford, meanwhile, made sure that brother Hardy
wasn’t the only Trafford with a medal – she won bronze, 6-4 versus local
standout Meghan Collins.
For compound archers, Jimmy Bell and Kevin Clayton shot
their way into a close gold medal match, in which Bell ultimately prevailed,
141-139. There was a very close tiebreaker shoot-off for the bronze medal, with
Blake Ragon ultimately taking the win from Logan Bunker, 141-141 with the “9”
closest to center.
Meanwhile, fans were put on notice by Allie Blazek, Brooke
Miller, Dahlia Crook and Hala Skelton, who all earned spots in the finals
despite breezy conditions on the field. Blazek ultimately took the gold medal
win, 133-130 versus silver medalist Miller, while Crook prevailed over Skelton
for the bronze.
Today, senior and junior archers took to the field to shoot
for medals of their own.
Jacob Marlow – whose name you might not know – is actually a
field archery and 3D standout. Yesterday’s number four qualifier stepped it up
in today’s eliminations, shooting his way past Rodger Willett, Jr., Steve
Anderson and Reo Wilde to face Braden Gellenthien in the gold medal final.
Gellenthien delivered in all of his own matches today,
hitting three perfect 150s – and a 147-145 win over Marlow to take the
championship title. Wilde, who will join Gellenthien and Willett at the World
Cup in Medellin next week, finished with the bronze medal win versus US teammate Bridger Deaton.
Compound archer Sarah Lance, who started her 2014 season
with a win at the Vegas Shoot, was golden today as well: she took a very narrow
victory over silver medalist and World No. 1 Erika Jones, 146-145. Earning a
spot on the national podium for the first time in her career was Crystal
Gauvin, who won a comeback victory versus Kailey Johnston for the bronze.
Fans watching the recurve archers today started to see
shakeups as early as the 1/16th round, when newcomer Rich Gauvin knocked
out World Cup team member Collin Klimitchek - and five-time Olympian Butch
Johnson fell 5-6 to Byron Crites.
The 1/8th saw a surprising early exit by Olympic
medalist Jacob Wukie, who suffered a 5-6 loss to Jason Pfister – and both Joe
Fanchin and Jeremiah Cusick were out before the quarterfinals. One of the
biggest upsets of the day saw LaNola Pritchard take out five-time Olympian
Khatuna Lorig – who is reportedly recovering from an injury – with a
Pritchard went on to earn a silver medal versus Jennifer
Hardy, who was unstoppable this weekend. The number one seed, three-time
Olympian Hardy shot her way past several strong opponents today to win the gold
medal, 7-3 – and Mackenzie Brown earned a medal of her own, a bronze versus
The recurve men’s final was an all-Olympian showdown between
hometown hero Jake Kaminski and Canada’s Crispin Duenas. With a 3-3 tie after 3 ends, it was
clearly anyone’s game, but Duenas took a 5-3 lead and pushed ahead for a 7-3
gold medal win. Bronze went to Olympic medalist Brady Ellison, with a win over Resident Athlete Daniel McLaughlin.
The next USAT Qualifier Series event is the SoCal
Showdown, beginning June 20th. Follow Team USA as it heads to
the World Cup in Medellin, Colombia next week. USA Archery will carry full
coverage on usarchery.org, as well as
updates on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.