PHOENIX, Arizona – After a challenging 2020, this year brings full events, a jam-packed calendar and the return of many major international competitions. Starting the United States Archery Team (USAT) Qualifier Series after a one-year hiatus, the Arizona Cup also hosts the first stage of the World Archery Championships – U.S. Team Trials, with today’s qualification round counting for both events.
Additionally, with World Cups returning this month and Olympic Trials just around the corner, competition was especially heated as archers came ready to show what they’ve been working on the past few months since the end of outdoor season last November.
“Today was interesting,” commented compound men’s leader, World No. 1 Braden Gellenthien. “The conditions were fairly nice for the first 36 arrows but, as is typical for Arizona, the wind picked up in the second half. I stuck with my game plan, executed the strongest shots that I could and am very happy with how things turned out, especially since this round is also the start of our World Team Trials.”
Gellenthien finished the day with a 709, just two points ahead of reigning World Champion James Lutz and Steve Anderson. The compound men’s field was incredibly tight with Kris Schaff, Tate Morgan and Dan Jasa also breaking the 700 mark.
For the compound senior women, reigning world silver medalist Paige Pearce pulled ahead, topping the round with a 704, just ahead of Toja Ellison’s 703, and not far behind the national record of 706. That record belongs to Alexis Ruiz, who qualified third with a 699 today, putting her in good stead to earn another spot on the world team.
With the world championships and Tokyo Olympic Games in sight, Casey Kaufhold crushed the recurve women’s division, coming out 20 points clear the rest of the field with a strong 668. Olympian Mackenzie Brown and Jennifer Mucino were second and third with 648 and 641 respectively.
Newly 17, Kaufhold has been the young rising star to watch. Her father shared that she came into today’s competition hoping for a performance that was “extraordinary”, not just good. With a significant lead that increased as winds picked up throughout the day, Kaufhold commented: “My goal was just to get here and shoot good shots so I’m glad I was able to start this season that way. I’m really looking forward to a more normal season this year with all the USAT events and seeing everyone there, and I’m excited to get back to world cups and international travel.”
World Champion and World No. 1 Brady Ellison also had a standout performance, posting a 690 for a 23-point win over Tokyo hopefuls Jack Williams and Matthew Nofel.
Timothy Gillingham once again dominated the compound master men’s competition, coming out on top with a 702. Mark Beebe and Steven Rosburg qualified second and third with 687 and 679 each. Top nationally ranked archers Deanna Cronin and Alanna Dunaway also had commanding performances today, topping the women’s rankings with 672 and 667 respectively while Catherine Belzner was third with a 635.
On the recurve master women’s side, Tatyana Muntyan continues her reign, outscoring the field by 35 points with a 626 ahead of Melissa McAvoy and Kathryn Hawkins. Larry Anderson was the top scorer for the recurve master men with a 624
Competition resumes this afternoon with youth elimination matches, while senior and master archers shoot matchplay tomorrow morning. Senior gold medal matches will stream live on Sunday at 1pm PT on USA Archery’s Facebook and YouTube. Complete results from today’s competition are available on Between Ends. Photos are available on USA Archery’s SmugMug.
About USA Archery
USA Archery is the National Governing Body for the Olympic sport of archery in the United States. USA Archery selects and trains Olympic, Paralympic, World Championship, and World Cup teams, as well as developing archery at the grassroots level across the United States. For more information, visit www.usarchery.org.