Arizona Cup Finals Wrap USAT Season Opener

April 08, 2018, 9:50 p.m. (ET)

PHOENIX, Arizona – The 2018 Arizona Cup and USAT Season wrapped today with elimination matches for the compound women and recurve men’s divisions, following the recurve women and compound men’s finals yesterday morning.

Coming out on top today for the senior divisions were Brady Ellison and Denmark’s Tanja Jensen. Ellison, who won gold in a strong 6-0 decision over Matthew Nofel, took his first tournament gold since Outdoor Nationals last year. Ellison also competed in both the recurve and compound divisions this weekend for a busy few days. “It was a really good experience,” shared Ellison. “This may be the first USAT event I’ve shot with both bows. I felt like compound went really well, I finished up 6th overall and 5th for the U.S. men, which is good for ranking points, and I had a personal best of 696 in qualification and I had a little bobble in the wind in quarterfinals that kept me out of being able to go into the finals.”

Ellison added: “Then, with the recurve, I shot really well. I felt like my 670 would have been a top qualifying score at a World Cup. Today, I shot well, I just didn’t have a lot of tens, but I only had two or three out of the gold. My fingers felt pretty good, I was able to execute some good shots. It’s nice to finally win one again. This is the longest stretch I’ve had without a win and I haven’t won this event in three years, so it’s been good.”

The compound senior women’s podium, led by Tanja Jensen, featured three international archers with Slovenia’s Toja Ellison taking silver and Mexico’s Linda Ochoa Anderson winning bronze. Ellison commented: “I’m happy with how I did, even in my match with Tanja, I had no mistakes, they were good shots, so I’m really happy with my progress and everyone who is supporting me. Having family behind me, Mel [Nichols] and Alistair, the coach from Great Britain, is really helping me.”

On the growing international presence at USA Archery’s event, as the Netherlands’ Mike Schloesser took gold for the compound senior men over Reo Wilde, Ellison added: “USA Archery should be proud that archers from all over the world want to come here and compete. These events are great. The tournament was quick, I really enjoyed it, the better the competition, the better we are prepared. We are working to be the best in the world and I really hope this level of international participation will carry over to the other USAT events.”

Taking gold for the senior recurve women yesterday was Olympian Mackenzie Brown over Khatuna Lorig, while 14 year old Casey Kaufhold had her first senior podium finish, winning bronze. Brown commented: “I felt really good. This was one of the best days I’ve had coming out at a competition just feeling really confident and at ease about the way I was shooting. This is a really tricky field to shoot on, no matter what year it is, we’ve seen wind, rain, cold and hot and I think I read everything really well and felt so confident about the way I was shooting.”

Also growing rapidly at the Arizona Cup was participation in the masters divisions. Standout finisher and passionate masters division advocate Laura Bennett Shelton took gold for the recurve women. She shared: “Our division was so much fun and laid back as usual. We always have such a good time. It went so smoothly with the new format and these weather conditions. The key to my success this tournament was remembering to shoot my indoor shot because if it worked for me all indoor season, it would work here too. We have a lot of really strong shooters in this division, and more who keep joining every day.” This year, World Archery is debuting the World Archery Masters Championships and Bennett Shelton is encouraging all to attend with her!

Complete scores from the event are available here. Photos are available on USA Archery’s SmugMug. For more from the event, follow USA Archery on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.