Battle Royale Shaping Up Between Champions, Sport’s Talented Newcomers

The finals at the Texas Shootout, USA Archery’s second USAT Qualifier Series Event of 2013, showed that even the country’s best archers can’t take a national ranking for granted. Rising stars climbed atop the podium in three out of four categories, making their mark and turning up the heat on the sport’s most established champions.

For the recurve women, Michelle Gilbert (MD) clinched her first-ever gold medal on the senior podium, edging out Olympian Miranda Leek (IA) with a 6-2 win. Gilbert will reportedly join Leek at Texas A&M University later this year. Resident Athlete Ariel Gibilaro (CT), nine months into her time at the Olympic Training Center and shooting this event as a junior, also took her own bronze medal win with a close 6-5 tiebreaker victory versus three-time Olympian and Aggie Jennifer Nichols (TX).

Erika Jones (NE), who is on fire this season with three wins in the NFAA’s Three-Star Tour, capped off a winning week by pulling off a gold medal win in College Station. However, it was Aggie and collegiate standout Tristan Skarvan (TX) who fought her way to a gold medal matchup with Jones, claiming silver by just two points in a windy match. Bronze in this category went to Jamie Van Natta (OH), who edged out fellow Team USA archer Christie Colin (PA) by just one point to take the hardware.

The recurve men’s group also saw two Olympic medalists – Brady Ellison (AZ) and Jake Kaminski (FL) shooting head-to-head to win gold and silver, respectively, in a very close 6-4 win for Ellison. The bronze medal matchup was between Resident Athletes Collin Klimitchek (TX) and Jeremiah Cusick (MN) was a close 6-4 smackdown that Klimitchek won, giving him his first-ever medal victory on the senior podium, and treating spectators to a preview of the strong talent developing in the recurve divisions.

Reo Wilde (ID) had his hands full with a tough competitor in Braden Gellenthien (VA), in a very close gold medal contest between the World No. 1 and No. 2 ranked archers, that ended with a one point advantage to gold medalist Wilde. Bridger Deaton (IA), one of the youth divisions’ strongest talents last year, came out swinging to eventually face Rodger Willett, Jr. in the bronze medal match, but Willett was a point stronger than his opponent, locking up the bronze with a 139-138 win.

Complete results from the Texas Shootout can be found at http://ianseo.net/Details.php?toId=380. Photos from the event and athlete interviews are available upon request. The next USAT Qualifier Series event is the Gator Cup; more information can be found at http://www.gatorcup.com.

Logo courtesy USA Archery

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