Juniors Celebrate Separate Competition Bracket at Arizona Cup USAT Season Opener

April 07, 2018, 12:20 a.m. (ET)

PHOENIX, Arizona – The 2018 USAT Season opened today at the AAE Arizona Cup. This major event is the first of USA Archery’s annual series used to rank archers for the United States Archery Team and brings the hottest competition out to shoot for top honors. Warm and sunny Phoenix provides the perfect backdrop for what is the first outdoor shoot of the year for many archers coming off a long and cold indoor season. While winter refuses to quit in much of the country, Arizona is putting out beautiful, albeit windy, conditions for competition and nearly 600 archers.

This year, USA Archery is experimenting with different schedules for USAT events, and so scoring began today with qualification for the recurve women and compound men’s divisions. Tomorrow, they will compete in head to head eliminations through the finals in the morning, and in the afternoon the recurve men and compound women’s divisions will begin their competition. Along with this change, juniors will now have separate elimination matches instead of being combined with the seniors.

Leading the recurve junior women, Indoor National Finalist Molly Nugent (Gilbert, Arizona) commented: “I love that the juniors now have their own bracket because now you get to practice more elimination rounds, because you may not have been able to beforehand. It preps you more for what your goals are. If you want to go to a world event, now you can go and know how to shoot the elimination rounds before you get there.”

Nugent added that shooting on her home field may have had some advantage with knowing how the wind works and how to deal with the dry heat, while many competitors are getting their first outdoor shoot without snow this week.

Top junior compound men’s qualifier Evan Flores (Johnstown, Colorado) commented: “The competition today was really good, a little windy, but it was good. I just trusted my shot, relaxed and knew the arrows would go there.” On the separate junior bracket, Flores added: “I’m excited because it gives us more of a chance to see how we compare to everyone else in our division in head to heads, so I like that.”

Competition resumes tomorrow morning with elimination matches. The AAE Arizona Cup is held at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility and is open to the public to attend. Live scores throughout event will be available hereFor photos from the event, follow USA Archery on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.