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May 31, 2015

Compound men win gold and bronze; rookie Klimitchek earns 1st World Cup podium

ANTALYA, Turkey - The U.S. team leaves the second stage of the Archery World Cup today with some serious hardware: a gold medal in the compound men's team event, bronze for compound superstar Reo Wilde (Pocatello, Idaho), bronze for newcomer Collin Klimitchek (Chula Vista, California) and solid fourth place individual finishes for Brady Ellison (Payson, Arizona) and Bridger Deaton (Pella, Iowa). 

First to deliver the win: the compound men's team of Wilde, Deaton and Steve Anderson (Salt Lake City, Utah). They met a tough squad from Denmark, featuring Martin Damsbo, Patrick Laursen and Stephan Hansen - and this has been a repeat matchup over several international events, with a give and take battle for gold. Saturday was was no different; the win came down to a single point - a "line cutter" shot, no less - with Team USA edging out Denmark, 232-231 for the medal. 

In Saturday's individual compound finals, Wilde and Deaton met in a battle of compound stars. While Wilde has experience on his side - multiple World Cup and World Championship medals, and world records - Deaton stormed onto the global archery scene last year, shooting his way to an incredible World Cup Final win at the end of the season. Yesterday, these two archers put on a fantastic show, each shooting just two points off perfect with matching 148s. In the one-arrow shoot off, Wilde made an admittedly less than perfect shot, but it was just one ring closer to the center, which is all he needed to win the bronze. 

"Of all the arrows I shot in the match, that was the worst one," Deaton told World Archery about his shoot-off shot after walking off the field. "We both shot great throughout the whole match and it came down to who would break first and break most. I'm glad we put on a show, even if the ending didn't quite go so well." Wilde admitted he thought he'd handed Deaton the match when his tiebreak shot went so far wide: "Even though I shot a 148, I knew he had all the tools to beat me." 

Sunday's recurve finals showed the promise of the American men's team, despite speculation about two newcomers on the squad. Shooting as the team that will compete at the upcoming World Archery Championships, the team of Ellison, Klimitchek and Zach Garrett (Chula Vista, California) had a strong performance and 4th place finish after a close loss to France in the bronze medal match. The match came to a 4-4 tie, with both sides shooting strong, but in the shoot-off, France shot 10, 8 and X to USA's 8, 9, 9. Still, the 4th place finish bodes well for the team that will be looking for a top 8 finish to secure Olympic quota spots at the Worlds in July. 

"It was a good match. We all had a couple of rough arrows but I think it was very useful in getting to know where we stand and how we perform under pressure," Klimitchek commented to World Archery, emotionless as France celebrated taking bronze. "We will learn and we will use the experience to improve," he added. 

Individually, Sunday's star was Klimitchek, competing in only his third international event, who shot his way to the bronze medal match versus teammate Ellison - and won. Ellison, one the most successful recurve archers in recent history, has an Olympic silver medal and multiple World Cup Final titles to his credit. Klimitchek: not a single World Cup podium finish - until today. 

Ellison won the first set, but Klimitchek came back, delivering a 28, 30 and a 29 to finish the match out, 6-2. Klimitchek is showing strong promise after a World Cup in which he achieved the top qualification score for American recurve men, a 4th place team finish, and an individual bronze. "I'm really excited," said Collin of even making the finals. "I was hoping for this but wasn't expecting it. I just came here to shoot the best I could. It was a great match and I'm just looking forward to see what the rest of the year holds. We have a great team." 

Thanks to World Archery Communications for quotes and more. Check out World Archery's website for video, photos and news. 

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