USA Archery has nominated six athletes to the U.S. Olympic Team following a grueling Olympic Trials process that took place over a ten-month period and consisted of three separate events. Miranda Leek (Des Moines, IA), Khatuna Lorig (West Hollywood, CA), Jennifer Nichols (Cheyenne, WY), Brady Ellison (Payson, AZ), Jake Kaminski (Buffalo, NY) and Jacob Wukie (Oak Harbor, OH) are all London-bound, pending approval of their nominations by the U.S. Olympic Committee.
The United States has already qualified three men’s and one women’s slot for London, and the three women nominated to the team will attempt to qualify a full team at the Final Olympic Qualification Tournament in Ogden, UT June 21. If they are successful by virtue of a top three finish, the full team will head to the Olympic Games; if they are not able to qualify, only Leek will be headed to the Olympic Games.
Following an intense first day of competition with a hotly contested ranking round and an elimination round that produced upsets and surprises, the point standings were in flux for all three spots on the women’s side today, and primarily for the third spot in the men’s group. All of the competitors on the field showcased solid shooting, with the fight for the third spot on the men’s side literally coming down to less than two points.
Competitors enjoyed warm weather and spectacular views for this final day in the Olympic Trials – a process that began in September at Texas A&M University, took the top sixteen athletes to the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, CA in April – and finished here in Colorado Springs, the home of USA Archery and the U.S. Olympic Committee.
Leek, who has enjoyed a standout 2012 season, will make her first trip to the Olympic Games in July after leading today’s point totals with 126.75, losing just two matches in today’s round robins, and carrying the field’s second highest three arrow average. Her fellow nominees are both veterans: four-time Olympian Lorig, who was the Closing Ceremony flag bearer at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, and two-time Olympian Nichols, who made her Olympic debut in Athens. Together, the three women, who won the U.S.’ first-ever World Cup team medal in 2011, will look first to qualify all of their quota slots next month.
Ellison, who led the men’s field since the first Trials event in September, will compete in his second Olympic Games in London, having made his debut in Beijing. Since 2008, Ellison has become the first archer ever to win three consecutive World Cup stages, has held the number one world ranking since 2011, and is considered a gold medal contender. Shooting for his first Olympic Team will be Kaminski, who has been a regular on the World Cup circuit since 2010, holding onto the second spot on the men’s team since September as well. Wukie, who clinched his spot on the team by just 1.75 points, was the Olympic Team alternate for Beijing and has significant international experience to his credit.
The men’s team alternate is Joe Fanchin (Oceanside, CA), and the women’s team alternate is Heather Koehl (Sheboygan Falls, WI). Both athletes also boast a wealth of international competitive experience, and will train closely with the Olympic Team nominees over the coming weeks in the event that they are called to London.
Thomas Stanwood (Middleboro, MA), five-time Olympian Butch Johnson (Woodstock, CT), three-time Olympian Vic Wunderle (Mason City, OH) and Dan Schuller (Mercer, PA) rounded out the top eight who competed in the Trials on the men’s side, while Kristin Braun (Los Angeles, CA), Holly Stover (Brighton, MI), Lori Cieslinski (Howell, MI) and Mackenzie Brown (Tyler, TX) comprised the remainder of the women’s field.
Complete results are available at http://www.teamusa.org/USA-Archery/Events/2012/June/01/US-Olympic-Team-Trials-Third-Nomination-Shoot.aspx. All nominations are subject to the approval of the U.S. Olympic Committee.
While almost all of the Olympic Team nominees will compete at the Nor’easter USAT Qualifier Series Event next weekend, the next official stop for the archers of Team USA will be the third stage of the Archery World Cup and Final Olympic Qualification Tournament in Ogden, UT June 17-24 (the Final Olympic Qualification Tournament, in which the U.S. women’s team will compete, will be held June 21). Follow @usaarchery on Twitter and USA Archery on Facebook throughout the season and through the Olympic and Paralympic Games for complete coverage.