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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah - In one of the most exciting matches of the whole weekend, Olympic duo Brady Ellison and Mackenzie Brown rocked a gold medal victory in the mixed team final to close out World Cup Salt Lake.
Shooting against Chinese Taipei with the home crowd screaming in the stands, Brown opened with a 10 and carried strong shots throughout the match. But as the wind played games, Chinese Taipei matched USA point for point, splitting each of the first three sets with identical scores.
Ellison and Brown kept good communication and support for each other visible throughout the match, but Ellison was a bit frustrated not to be able to find the 10-ring as he drilled six consecutive 9s. His final arrow of the match smoked the 10 ring and with Mackenzie's solid gold run continuing, the U.S. team clinched the victory 5-3 to roaring fans.
"It's nice to win when you have a teammate who can't shoot any 10s to be able to win a match like that but somehow we were able to pull it off," joked Ellison after the match.
"No, that was a clutch 10 at the end!" Brown came to his defense, laughing. The duo has had a strong run as a mixed team pair, with many trips up the podium together including bronze here in Salt Lake last year, but they haven't taken gold since Shanghai 2014.
"It's about time!" Brown beamed about taking the win. "I think for us, we've worked really well together. It's definitely really cool that get to win here. It means the world to have our fans behind us and have Americans in the stands cheering us on."
On some of the challenges with the wind, Ellison shared, "The wind in that arena is interesting because you don't feel it really, but you see it a little bit in the wind socks and you're aiming off and aiming off and all of a sudden it's completely dead and that's when you're like, 'oh that's when there's no wind in here!' So, we were able to feel that and make some good adjustments and shoot well the last end."
First on the field in the morning, Khatuna Lorig, Erin Mickelberry and Mackenzie Brown challenged Japan in the recurve women's bronze final. The large wall of spectators created a barrier from the wind half way down the field similar to the London 2012 Olympic venue and posed a challenge to the U.S. team. Both teams opened with 54s to split the first set, but when Japan dialed in, the U.S. missed the mark on a few shots. Lorig stayed strong, dropping only two arrows in the 8-ring, but Japan was stronger, taking the next two sets by 3 points each to win 5-1.
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