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ANTALYA, Turkey - Team USA's Reo Wilde (Pocatello, Idaho) is the archer to beat. He started the Antalya World Cup in style today, claiming the top compound men's seed in the qualification round. But at the last World Cup, in Shanghai, Wilde was a bit unlucky. There, he shot a new world record with a flawless 150 12X, then went out in the next phase of the head-to-heads to France's Seb Peineau - who shot a high 149 to Reo's 148, and then went on to win the event.
"I've had a couple of times recently where people beat me with really high scores," Wilde admitted - echoing the feeling he let on to in Shanghai. "But apart from that it's been a really good year so far."
And today, Reo was high scorer, helping his teammates - World Cup Final champion Bridger Deaton (Pella, Iowa), Steve Anderson (Salt Lake City, Utah) and Braden Gellenthien (Hudson, Massachusetts) - to a top seed in the team competition as well.
He was consistent throughout, shooting nothing less than a 58-point six-arrow end and ending on a 705 total for the 72-arrow round. For much of the afternoon he trailed "Mister Perfect" Mike Schloesser, but the Dutch archer loosened up on the home stretch and dropped off.
Reo credits his new equipment, particularly his release, with his tight groups: "It's new toys and working out how to use them. I shot 30 plus Xs today, even in the wind."
"I just wanted to stay on the pace, the wind was tough and I just kept plugging away at what I was doing."
On the women's side, it was Crystal Gauvin (Dayville, Connecticut) who was the high scorer for the team, finishing the day in fourth - a strong position for someone who's only in her second season of international competition. Teammates Lexi Keller (Omro, Wisconsin), Angela Bradley (Herald, California) and Easter Brock (Sandy, Utah) helped to qualify the team in the 11th spot.
Recurve archers saw strong performances as well. The recurve men's squad was led by Collin Klimitchek (Chula Vista, California), who had a career-high World Cup qualification position of 12th; he was followed by Brady Ellison (Payson, Arizona), and World Cup rookies Sean McLaughlin and Zach Garrett, both of Chula Vista, California. Together, the team hit a fourth place ranking, while the women's team had an equally successful day, finishing in fifth as a team.
Khatuna Lorig (West Hollywood, California), the five time Olympian who coached Jennifer Lawrence for her role in "The Hunger Games," was herself the Girl on Fire today. Shooting with her hand taped due to a recent strain, she still managed to deliver a strong 669 for a sixth place spot. She's joined on this week's team by LaNola Pritchard, Ariel Gibilaro and Mackenzie Brown - all hailing from Chula Vista, California - who managed to qualify 24th, 26th and 44th, respectively.
The importance of this event for Team USA? It's not just a World Cup; it's the final international event before the upcoming World Archery Championships, where the U.S. recurve teams will attempt to qualify their spots for Rio 2016. With today's results, the teams are well positioned heading into this week's team elimination matches; and Thursday's individual head-to-heads promise some interesting matchups - including a first-round meeting between USA's Garrett and Ellison.
World Archery Communications contributed to this article.
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