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Archers Down to Elite Eight in 2016 Olympic Trials

Author: Taylor Walston

As the 2016 Olympics in August draw near, the United States’ top 16 male and female hopefuls were sliced to a prestigious eight in the second round of the three-part Olympic Trials on April 20.

Brady Ellison, who is the No. 1 male archer after the cut, said: “I’m feeling really excited. My shots felt way better, and I had more control so I was happy with the way I performed.”

Heather Koehl rounded out the top eight women. “I left it all out on the field,” Koehl said. “I shot what I could and it was enough. My focus to stay in it … is to really enjoy the experience, take what I’ve learned from the first and second stage of the Trials, and stay positive and really have fun with it.”

Jake Kaminski, who won silver at the 2012 Olympics, said he’s taking it one arrow at a time. “This process is a marathon, not a sprint,” he said. “Each individual event and each match doesn’t really matter all that much. If you make a mistake, you move on. Thinking back to 2012, I shot over 1,000 arrows during the entire Trials process, so if you have one arrow in the 7-ring, it’s not all that bad.”

These were the rankings after April 20’s cuts:

Men’s Division:

  1. Brady Ellison (Globe, Arizona)
  2. Zach Garrett (Wellington, Missouri)
  3. Jake Kaminski (Gainesville, Florida)
  4. Jacob Wukie (Fremont, Ohio)
  5. Daniel McLaughlin (West Chester, Ohio)
  6. Sean McLaughlin (West Chester, Ohio)
  7. Collin Klimitchek (Victoria, Texas)
  8. Thomas Stanwood (Raynham, Massachusetts)

Women’s Division:

  1. Mackenzie Brown (Flint, Texas)
  2. Ariel Gibilaro (North Branford, Connecticut)
  3. LaNola Pritchard (Lehi, Utah)
  4. Hye Youn Park (Cupertino, California)
  5. Lauren Clamon (Chula Vista, California)
  6. Erin Mickelberry (Bothell, Washington)
  7. Khatuna Lorig (West Hollywood, California)
  8. Heather Koehl (Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin)

Keep checking into Team USA for the most up-to-date rankings. The next round of the Olympic Trials is May 26-30 in Colorado Springs, which will determine Team USA’s top three men and women. They will be nominated to the Olympic team, along with an alternate for each team. The USA women’s team hasn’t earned its team-competition spot yet in Rio, so they must compete for that spot in the World Cup in Antalya, Turkey, in June. If they fail there, only the top-ranked Team USA woman will compete in Rio.

Ellison, Lorig and Garrett Win Medals at the Season’s First World Cup

Brady Ellison, Khatuna Lorig, and Zach Garrett brought home gold and silver, respectively, from Shanghai during the World Cup tour’s first event of the year.

Team USA reported that Ellison and Lorig, the world’s No. 2-ranked mixed team, won the United States’ only gold of the event after a string of upsets in qualifying rounds. The two veteran archers, who have a combined seven Olympic Games under their belts, defeated Australia, 6-2, in the opening round. Next they scored back-to-back 6-0 wins over No. 10 Denmark and No. 3 South Korea to reach the gold-medal final. Their 5-1 win against No. 4 Chinese Taipei in the final won gold. The victory gave the American archers a shot of confidence as they embark on the final leg of the road to the Rio Olympics.

In the meantime, watch the events unfold and cheer on Team USA from home.

Para-Archery News to Watch

The Paralympic Games will kick off Sept. 8 in Rio, after the Olympics conclude. This circuit features many names to follow, and the official Paralympic website apprises us of the competition’s big guns.

For instance, Zahra Nemati of Iran is one of her country’s most popular athletes after becoming the first Iranian woman to win gold at an Olympics or Paralympic Games at London 2012. Now, four years later, Nemati will try to defend her individual W1 title, but is also aiming for a chance to compete against Olympic archers. Her feats further her role as a model for Muslim women.

Although new faces continually enter the Olympic hopeful mix, some male archers are well-known to the Games. Great Britain’s John Cavanagh has competed in every Paralympics since Sydney 2000. He won gold in the men’s individual W1 compound at the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games and silver at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games. Further, Great Britain’s John Stubbs took gold at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games, where he also shot a Paralympic Games record for 12 arrows, scoring 117 of a possible 120. He is currently ranked No. 2 in the men’s compound open. Italy’s Alberto Simonelli started shooting archery in 1993 and made his international debut in 1995. Simonelli ranks No. 3 in the compound open, behind Stubbs. New blood doesn’t always mean better blood, so the world will follow what these veterans achieve during this Paralympic run.

Great Britain is one of the top countries in archery as a collective unit, according to the Paralympics. British women dominate the women’s W1 division with Jo Frith (No. 1), Jessica Stretton (No. 3) and Vicky Jenkins (No. 4) topping the rankings. In all the events, Great Britain has eight athletes ranked in the top five in their respective events, including John Walker (men’s W1), Mel Clarke (women’s compound open) and John Stubbs (men’s compound open).

Even with these excellent archers, Great Britain has secured only one qualification slot in the six individual events. The team will determine in July who to send, the Paralympic site said.

David Drahoninsky is another name to watch. The Czech Republic’s Beijing 2008 champion, David Drahoninsky, won his first world title in the W1 men’s competition, setting a world record in the quarter-finals.

Matt Stutzman, also known as the “Armless Archer,” should also be on your radar. He’s been shooting for the 2016 Paralympics a long time.

Archery 360 featured a video showing his technique:

How does an archer with no arms shoot a bow? He uses a combination of his feet, which have incredible dexterity, and a release aid strapped to his shoulder. Check out Matt Stutzman’s shooting technique as he aims for a spot on the Rio 2016 Paralympic Team:

The Paralympic site explains: “The USA’s Matt Stutzman grabbed attention not only because of his unique shooting style, but also after taking silver in the men’s individual compound from London 2012. Last December, he set the Guinness World Record for farthest accurate shot with a compound bow. But ‘Paralympic champion’ next to his name would sound better.” Do you agree?

Cherokee Nation to Build Public Archery Park on Tribal Land

The Cherokee Nation is making history by building the first public archery range on tribal land in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.

They will name the range after a Cherokee man who is also a champion archer. The Cherokee nation’s website announced that the Joe Thornton Archery Range will open by Labor Day weekend in a field west of the tribe’s complex. Thornton was the 1961 World Archery champion.

“The Cherokee people have a long and culturally significant history with archery, but no modern-day Cherokee is more famous with a bow than Joe Thornton,” said Bill John Baker, the Cherokee nation’s principal chief. Thornton teaches the sport and was a world-champion archer, so the Cherokees thought it natural to build this range for archery students, hunters, cornstalk and target shooters.

The range hopes to create opportunities for schools to use the range for archery. The Cherokee nation provided the land for the range. The Archery Trade Association donated $50,000 to help build the park, an amount the ATA has donated to other states seeking to open archery parks. The Oklahoma Wildlife Department provides archery kits to schools so they can use the range.

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