The final arrows have been shot in the U.S. Archery Team (USAT) Qualifier Series for 2012, at the American Whitetail Texas Shootout in College Station. The event was successfully hosted by Texas A&M University, which has a rich history in the sport of archery.
There were some close matches and one finals showstopper in today’s competition, which featured USA Archery Resident Athletes and Olympic medalists winning several key recurve matches, as well as a perfect score of 150 in the men’s compound gold medal match by Reo Wilde.
Reo Wilde just can’t be kept out of the finals this year; it was no surprise to fans to see him in yet another gold medal matchup. With one end to go, Wilde had an eight point lead of 120-112 over his opponent Thomas Gomez. Wilde finished with three tens for a perfect 150 points to edge out Gomez. With a clean score of 150, Wilde clinched the gold, giving Thomas the silver.
In the bronze medal match Rodger Willett, Jr. had a ten-point lead going into the final end. He led Hunter Barthels, recently returned from the World Archery Field Championships, with a 120-110. In the final end both archers shot a 28, bringing the final score to 148-138 in favor of Willett.
Jamie Van Natta shot against Erika Anschutz in the gold medal match, making this contest a showdown between two of the world’s best compound archers. After four ends Van Natta led 117-115, needing to shoot strong in the final end in order to hold off a tough opponent in Anschutz. Van Natta closed with a perfect 30 points to secure a 3-point victory of 147-144.
Brittany Lorenti faced Diane Watson in the bronze medal match. With only one end to go the score was tied at 116-116. Watson shot a 29 to Lorenti’s 27 to give Watson a 2 point victory at 145-143. With a strong qualification score yesterday and solid match play wins today, Lorenti had a positive outlook despite the loss to Watson: “I worked really hard this summer and I’m finally back to feeling like me…it feels awesome.”
Nick Kale met Jeremiah Cusick in the bronze medal match. After four sets the score was 5-3 in favor of Cusick. Despite strong shooting from Kale, Cusick pulled of the bronze medal win 7-3, clinching his first-ever podium finish in the senior men’s event.
Brady Ellison and Jake Kaminski faced each other in a heated gold medal match. After four sets the score was tied at 4-4. In the fifth set the archers tied, bringing the score to 5-5 and forcing a shoot-off. In the shoot-off both archers shot a 9. After the judges measured to see which arrow was closest to the center, no determination could be made, forcing another shoot-off arrow.
Kaminski said, “Literally the exact same spot, you couldn’t have placed it closer.” In the second shoot-off Kaminski shot a 9 but it was Ellison who would come away with the win by shooting a 10, taking the Texas Shootout title.
Three-time Olympian Jennifer Hardy (Nichols) took an early lead and never let up, winning the gold medal match over 2012 Olympic Team Alternate Heather Koehl, 6-0. Koehl is a recent graduate of the Resident Athlete program, having recently left the Olympic Training Center to pursue her education.
The bronze medal match between Erin Mickelberry and Mackenzie Brown was tied 2-2 after two sets. Then Brown began to pull ahead, taking the third set, tying the fourth and winning the fifth outright to take the match, 7-3. This is Brown’s second senior podium finish in 2012, following a silver medal win at last month’s SoCal Showdown.
When asked about the strong finishes from archers in the Resident Athlete program, including podium finishes from Ellison, Kaminski, Cusick, Koehl and Brown, Guy Krueger, USA Archery Assistant Head Coach, commented: “I think we are starting to see a lot more depth; a lot of our athletes are taking turns at winning events.”
Junior archers were ranked with senior archers for today’s elimination round match play, while cadet archers competed in an elimination round yesterday that did not count for US Archery Team ranking purposes, but gave the archers valuable match play experience.
Image courtesy USA Archery