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May 20, 2013

Americans Take Seven Medals at First World Cup Stage

SHANGHAI - A strong U.S. compound squad won six of the team's seven medals at the first stage of the World Cup in Shanghai, proving its prowess despite a clear message from South Korea that it's determined to dominate in compound archery as it has in recurve. A strong performance from newcomer Carli Cochran (Willow Street, Pa.) also gave Team USA fans good reason to cheer.

The U.S. women's compound team of Erika Jones (Grand Island, Neb.), Carli Cochran (Willow Street, Pa.) and Jamie Van Natta (Toledo, Ohio) started the squad's race for medals on Saturday by clinching silver after posting a 216-231 score versus Korea in windy conditions. 

Cochran, making her World Cup debut, commented: "I felt that I fit right in for my first time, and Erika and Jamie were great. We shot great in practice, [though] we didn't have our best Team Round against Korea. We had an off match."

Teammates Braden Gellenthien (College Station, Texas), Reo Wilde (Pocatello, Idaho) and Rodger Willett, Jr. (Gloucester, Va.) showed that they are still the dominant men's compound team by clinching a medal of their own in the final - gold versus Italy, 236-228.

Adding to the team's haul were the mixed team of Jones and Gellenthien, who then faced Korea once again in the compound mixed team gold medal match. With wind and rain still a factor, the U.S. stayed consistent enough to clinch the win, 155-154.

Jones then had her third match of the day with members of the Korean team, this time versus Korea's Seok Ji Hyun. Both archers put up very strong scores, but Jones was unable to edge out her opponent, taking silver for USA, 143-147.

On the men's side, the individual bronze medal match was an all-American smackdown between Wilde and American teammate Dave Cousins (Standish, Maine), who matched each other nearly point for point until the final end, when Wilde hit a perfect 30 to a 28 from Cousins, clinching the bronze.

The gold medal final between Gellenthien and Denmark's Martin Damsbo gave Team USA another opportunity to shine, and Gellenthien took full advantage. Dropping only two points, Gellenthien shot a 148 to win the gold medal by three points, winning the USA's third gold medal of the event.

In the recurve event, Team USA made their presence felt in the mixed team gold medal final, despite some tough early losses that prevented American men's and women's recurve teams and individuals from making the medal matches.

Khatuna Lorig (West Hollywood, Calif.) and Brady Ellison (Chula Vista, Calif.) faced a talented duo from India in the gold medal match - Deepika Kumari and Jayanta Talukdar. Ellison dropped just one point in the match, and with solid shooting from Lorig, the team was able to start with the lead and keep it to win the gold for USA, 154-146.

Also noteworthy was Cochran shooting her way to the compound women's bronze medal match, an outstanding performance for a first World Cup appearance. Facing two-time World Champion Albina Loginova (RUS), she was unable to take the medal, but proved that she'll be a force to contend with in future international events.

"I was nervous the first couple of ends, then I kind of settled down, and started nailing the tens," Cochran said when asked how she felt about shooting in her first World Cup. "It was fun, I loved it."

In discussing her match with Loginova, Cochran offered solid advice for newcomers: "because I was so new, I didn't even really know who she was, to be honest. But then I was realizing that she's ranked number one, and had all these titles. I would advise [other archers] to concentrate on what you're shooting, and not worry about what the other person is shooting. There was a lot of pressure for my first time."

Next cup for Cochran are the Easton Foundations Gator Cup and the World Archery Championships Team Trials, followed by the next World Cup stage, in Antalya. "I'll start training even more, close to 100 arrows per day," Cochran said. "My training will increase. I'm definitely going to practice counting down and having only twenty seconds to shoot."

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