College Station, Texas – Miranda Leek (IA) is eighteen years old, and seeking her first Olympic Team berth. Butch Johnson (CT) is fifty-six, and after five Olympic Games and two Olympic medals, he seeks his sixth nomination. Between the two, there is an age gap of thirty eight years and hundreds of tournaments, but they have one thing in common: they are among the top three archers in their respective categories following the end of the first Nomination Shoot for the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Archery. And they both know that this early, it’s anyone’s game on this journey to London.

Led by Brady Ellison (AZ) for the men, and Jennifer Nichols (TX) on the women’s side, sixteen men and sixteen women have now been ranked according to bonus points earned, following a 144 arrow ranking round on Thursday, and round robin matches yesterday and today. Ellison, the number one ranked archer in the world, is joined in the top three by fellow Resident Athlete Jake Kaminski (CA), and Johnson in the third spot.
In a post-event interview, Nichols credited her religious faith and her coach, Alexander Kirillov, in helping her through what some would call a difficult season, which included a tough loss at the Pan Am Games Trials earlier this year. “I am really excited,” Nichols said, when asked what she thought of her performance this week. “I’m very pleased with my performance after having such a rough summer, and my training toward the Olympic Games is showing signs of progress.”

For the women, Nichols is the top ranked archer, followed by Leek in the second position, and Kristin Braun (CA), who had a standout performance in this week’s event.  “It feels good, it’s been a long time coming,” said Braun, who won thirteen of her fifteen matches to take the third spot. “I’ve been focusing on good things, positive things. For this tournament especially, it’s been all about self encouragement. I’ve been having a tough year, so I’ve just been trying to build up my self image to match my potential.”

Other notable archers on both sides include Jacob Wukie (OH) and Joe Fanchin (CA), both of whom shot up in the rankings from yesterday to today, and four-time Olympian Khatuna Lorig (CA) and Resident Athlete Heather Koehl (WI), holding fourth and fifth for the women. “I was really happy with the first day of shooting; I had been struggling for a while and got things working before the tournament,” explained Wukie, regarding his comeback in the second day of match play. “Yesterday, the wind didn’t do me any favors, but today it was manageable and I was able to shoot my shot.”

Throughout round robin match play, archers were ranked according to factors such as their three arrow end averages and wins or losses, as well as any bonus points earned during the ranking round. The Olympic Team Trials for Archery will continue beginning April 23 with the second Nomination Shoot in Chula Vista, California, in which the top eight archers in each category will be selected. The final three person teams and alternates will be selected at the final Trials event in Colorado Springs in June. Complete results from this week’s event are available here; election procedures can be viewed by clicking here . USA Archery will continue to post photos on Facebook and results and updates on Twitter throughout the Olympic Team Trials process.

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