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CORTINA, Italy - The World Archery Field Championships wrapped qualification today with 24 targets at marked, or known distances, following 24 unmarked targets in yesterday's round. There was a bit of rain, but USA held tough and came out on top of tough competition.
New to this world championships, the elimination matches will be shot in a "shoot up" format where the top two ranked archers after qualification are pre-seeded into the semifinals and the rest are separated into pools.
The lowest two seeded archers in each pool shoot a match, with the loser eliminated and the winner shooting against the next-lowest-seeded archer - and so on - until only one athlete remains in each match. Pool winners compete to qualify for the semifinals.
For the finals, semifinalists shoot a standard finals set-up, with the two winners proceeding to shoot for gold and the losers entering the bronze medal match.
Finishing today in the top two then became very important. Reigning compound men's world champion Steve Anderson pulled ahead in today's targets to take the top pole: "I was a little bit in the hole after a poor unmarked round," commented Anderson. "I shot really well minus three targets this week - big mistakes on those. So, coming into today I knew I needed a good round; I almost put together a really, really good round but I kind of blew that on the last target - didn't matter, thankfully. The goal was to finish in the top two to get that automatic seed into the semis - did that and I'm happy with it so we'll move on from here."
Anderson scored a 416 today, 5 points clear the rest of the field for the day, and with an 826 total, he had a 4-point lead over the rest of a very tight division. USA's Dan Jasa also had a strong day to qualify 5th for the compound senior men with a final 818.
Paige Pearce earned a bye into the compound women's semis with a strong 401 to top today's round and an 807 overall to rank her 2nd behind Slovenia's Toja Ellison. On the tough terrain, Pearce shared: "I feel like they set these courses up the way a FITA [World Archery] field should be set up; long distances with lots of angles and overall both courses were really challenging."
Brady Ellison also finished in the top 2, scoring a 365 to rank 2nd for the recurve men, just one point behind France's Jean Charles Valladont with a final 748. The two have a known, heated rivalry and arguably push each other to greater levels of competition as they were 30 points clear the rest of their division.
USA's barebow men's leader John Demmer III just missed the automatic pass into the semifinals, finishing the day 3rd with a 660 after a 311 today, only the 10th highest score on the field. Fawn Girard moved up to finish 6th for the women with a strong day today.
Compound junior Connor Sears was the only U.S. junior to lock up a bye into the semifinals with a 2nd place seed and the best score in his division all day with a 402 for a final 811.
Reigning compound junior women's world champion Sophia Strachan was tied with teammate Savanna Vanderwier yesterday, but pulled ahead today to finish 3rd with a 780 over Vanderwier's 4th place 769.
For the barebow junior men, 2016 silver medalist Mark Schlaudraff finished 4th with a 568, just ahead of teammate Robert Schell's 5th place 561. Laura Hughes qualified 4th for the barebow junior women with a 489, while Abigail Weir's 475 put her 5th too.
USA's Joseph Scarboro also seeded 4th for the recurve junior men with a 654.
For the team competition, teams consist of one barebow, one compound and one recurve archer, and USA leads in the men's team event, where we won gold in 2016. USA teams also qualified 2nd for the junior men, 5th for the women and 4th for the junior women.
Despite challenging competition, the U.S. archers shot well in the incredibly gorgeous venue created by Italy's mountains. Anderson added: "This is going to rank in the top two or three most beautiful places I've been in the world. It's nice when, every time you turn the corner you have another view of some spectacular mountains. We're literally surrounded by giant peaks here and we're in the middle of dolomites. It's beautiful, you can't ask for more. If you're shooting bad, just look around and at least you've got a nice view to keep you company."
Competition resumes tomorrow with the start of individual pool matches. Complete results from the competition can be found here. Follow USA Archery on Facebook, Twitterand Instagram for more from the event.
Photo and information attributed to World Archery.
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