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Yankton Set to Host USA Archery Team Qualifying Tournament

Once again, some of the top archers in the country will descend on Yankton for a key tournament.

In what one official referred to as an “impressive field,” Yankton will host the 2010 South Dakota Cup Archery Tournament, which begins today (Saturday) and continues through Sunday at the National Field Archery Association (NFAA) complex.

A total of 73 archers from 28 states will compete in the qualifier for ranking for the USA Archery Team.

The tournament, with men's and women's senior and junior divisions, is one of eight qualifiers over a series of weekends from April through October. Other similar events have been held in Arizona, Texas, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Florida and California.

“It's certainly an impressive field, even for a group of under 100,” said M.J. Rogers, a long-time NFAA coach and tournament director. “You have some of the best archers in the country right here in Yankton, doing everything they can to qualify.

“For archery fans, it doesn't get much better then this.”

The field of archers includes the top-ranked male archer in the USA, the top-ranked female archer, a group of young archers from the U.S. Olympic Training Center in San Diego, as well as the entire male squad from the USA team that competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

In addition, the son of United States Collegiate Archery Program (USCA) Executive Director Lorretta Sinclair is competing.

The No. 1 female archer in the USA, Jamie Van Natta, won Women's Individual Compound bronze medal at last weekend's 2010 Archery World Cup in Ogden, Utah.

The tournament started with an unofficial practice on Thursday and an official practice on Friday afternoon. Today's (Saturday) round will see archers shoot 72 arrows, and from there, will be bracketed into single elimination match play rounds for Sunday.

This year marks the first time there have been more than four qualifying tournaments, according to Rogers.

“They've been added on a more regional basis, so it's good that Yankton can be in the rotation,” said Rogers, whose 20 years of coaching include mentoring five teams at the World Championships and five years at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in San Diego. “It just shows you how the sport is progressing here.

“We'll hope to have more of these types of events in the future.”

Sunday's Olympic rounds will be determined by Saturday's brackets, followed by an awards presentation at 1 p.m.

Though this weekend's tournament might not feature hundreds of archers like some of the other Yankton-hosted NFAA events, Rogers said the action won't be any less exciting.

“We're OK with the number we have,” he said. “You can always hope for more, but it'll still be a fun and competitive weekend.”