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LAS VEGAS, Nevada - After four stages of the Indoor World Cup in Marrakech, Bangkok, Nimes and Las Vegas, cuts to the top 16 were made in each category for the Indoor World Cup Final last night. 14 U.S. archers made the cut and dominated competition finishing with three gold and two silver medals.
The recurve women's gold medal final was an all-American showdown between Khatuna Lorig (West Hollywood, California) and Mackenzie Brown (Flint, Texas). Ranked 16th, Lorig made an incredible comeback to climb to first, knocking out top seeded archer Guendalina Sartori of Italy in the first round.
Brown, seeded 11th also made an impressive climb through the brackets, facing Olympic Silver Medalist Aida Roman and winning the match with a clean 6-2 decision. Brown then took on her Chula Vista Olympic Training Center Teammate for the gold. The two split the first set with matching 29s, but Lorig posted 30-29-30 for the next three sets to Brown's 28-29-28 to take a 6-2 win and the gold.
"It was very enjoyable considering I hate 18 meters," Lorig told World Archery. "I'm an Olympic archer, but I'm very happy with the results - it was practice for outdoors, and an American won, in America!"
Both Brown and Lorig are excited to get back to practicing for Rio, commented Brown: "It's good competition practice, one of them most fun tournaments I shoot all year - and it's great to perform well and go into the outdoor season knowing you've shot well."
In another USA head to head matchup for gold, Jesse Broadwater (Ellenton, Florida) took on Reo Wilde (Pocatello, Idaho). With eight of the sixteen compound men in the Final representing the U.S., there were many tough head to head matches between friends. Broadwater, seeded 10th, eliminated Chance Beaubouef and Braden Gellenthien in the first two matches to make it to the semifinals.
Broadwater took the win by three points over Wilde, who dropped a 28 in the third set and never recovered. "It was awesome," Broadwater commented to World Archery. "A lot different lighting, and the stage was set a lot different. It was pretty intense. Reo's an intense competitor. We're both really good archers, and when it comes down to it we're not really shooting against each other but just trying to shoot a 150. I think we put more pressure on ourselves than anything else."
Brady Ellison was the only U.S. representative in the recurve men's Final. Feeling strong from recent wins in Bangkok and here in Vegas, Ellison was the highest ranked archer going into the Final, and one of the few top seeded archers who made it through to medal matches without being upset earlier in the competition. He dropped only one point out of the 10-ring in each of his first three matches.
In the gold final, Ellison faced Russia's Alexander Kozhin and opened with two perfect sets of 30 to take a quick 3-1 lead. Kozhin took the third set bringing the match to a tie, but Ellison, hungry for gold in 2016, came back strong to finish out the match 7-3 as Kozhin dropped several arrows in the 8-ring.
Three-time Archery World Cup Final Champion Ellison commented: "I shot really well. I had more nines than I wanted to, but in all honesty I wanted the win. It doesn't matter how many matches you get in, things still surprise you. When someone shoots an eight indoors, it rattles you more than it should because it surprises you. When the door is open, I just throw an arrow down there. It's not the right attitude to have but I got through. I'm looking to have one of the best years I've ever had, and I'm thinking I might as well start with indoors."
Gold had evaded Ellison in the Indoor World Cup Final since back-to-back wins in 2012 and 2013. The three-time outdoor Archery World Cup Final Champion is now a three-time Indoor Archery World Cup Final Champion too. "Its the first time I've been in the gold medal match in the Indoor World Cup Final in way too long so I'm just happy to win one again," Ellison told World Archery.
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