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WROCLAW, Poland - The fourth stage of the World Cup 2013 begins Monday, August 19th in the fourth-highest populated city in Poland. Wroclaw, commonly referred to as Northern Venice because of its tremendous number of canals, islands, bridges, and beautiful rivers, is a city rich in history and will be named the European Capital of Culture 2016 and host to the World Games 2017.
As the tight race for spots in the World Cup Final comes to a close, the top seven archers in each category who will compete in Paris will finally be determined; France as host country automatically earns one spot per category.
Erika Jones (Grand Island, Neb.), archery's hottest talent right now, is poised well at first in the rankings to earn her spot in Paris. Other heavy hitters include Seok Ji Hyun of Korea and Colombia's Sara Lopez and Alejandra Usquiano, and Russia's Albina Loginova.
Team USA's Carli Cochran (Willow Street, Penn.) will need a strong performance to make the cut, and joined by World Championships teammates, Sarah Lance (Wyandotte, Mich.) and Tristan Skarvan (College Station, Tex.), making their World Cup debuts, the US compound women's team will be tough to beat.
Braden Gellenthien (College Station, Tex.) and Reo Wilde (Pocatello, Idaho) have already qualified for a guaranteed view of the Eifel Tower, as has Martin Damsbo of Denmark. Rodger Willet Jr. (Gloucester, Va.) is also poised well to make the Finals, but will not be competing in Poland. Dave Cousins (Standish, Maine) will have to battle the Netherland's Peter Elzinga, Sergio Pagni of Italy, and Canada's Dietmar Trillus as some of the other top contenders for the last few spaces in Paris. Garrett Abernethy (Aiken, S.C.) will return to round out the compound men. The US team is expected to continue its powerhouse hold over the team competition.
Miranda Leek (College Station, Tex.) earned her first points in Medellin and is a serious contender to earn a place in the prestigious Finals. Currently ranked 8th, Leek will have to have a repeat stellar performance this week. Yun Ok-Hee of Korea and Cui Yuanyuan of China have already qualified and Inna Stepanova of Russia is also in line for Paris.
Michelle Gilbert (Bethesda, Md.) will return to the World Cup stage with Jennifer Hardy (Cheyenne, Wyo.) and Holly Stover (Chula Vista, Calif.) to compete for the recurve women.
Korea's Olympic Champion, Oh Jin Hyek and Mauro Nespoli of Italy are already safely secured in men's recurve spots for the Paris Final, while China's absence in Poland will allow for big changeups in the remaining slots. This is especially true for Brady Ellison (Chula Vista, Calif.), who is locked in a four-way tie in the current rankings. Look out for Mexico's Juan Rene Serrano, Canada's Crispin Duenas, France's GaŽl Prevost and recent Cali World Games Field champion Jean-Charles Valladont.
The US men's team is the same that will represent at the upcoming World Championships, rounded out by Joe Fanchin (Chula Vista, Calif.), Jake Kaminski (Gainesville, Fla.) and Daniel McLaughlin (Chula Vista, Calif.), making his World Cup debut.
This team has been training hard in preparation, but can they repeat history to regain their place on top of the podium in the team competition? Team USA is strong after an impressive performance in Medellin, and with new competitors there is hope for gold and finalized spots in the finals in France. This will also be a good look at what to expect with the World Championships in October.
For all current World Cup 2013 rankings, visit http://www.worldarchery.org/en-us/worldcup/worldcuphome/currentranking.aspx.
For live results from Wroclaw, visit http://www.ianseo.net/TourList.php and follow daily coverage on http://www.worldarchery.org and visit USA Archery on Facebook and Twitter for updates from the field.
Some information attributed to World Archery Communication.
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