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Ogden, Utah - In a city surrounded by rivers and mountains, once known as a crossroads of the west, sixteen American archers took to the field for individual eliminations, determined to show the world exactly what it means to have a home court advantage. For Brady Ellison and Rodger Willett, Jr., there are now hopes for what has never been done before: three consecutive World Cup gold medal wins. For Erika Anschutz and Braden Gellenthien, it will be a chance to defend or raise their high world ranking with a gold medal win. And for Joe Fanchin and Reo Wilde, they will shoot it out in this western town for bronze medals.
Byed into the 1/16 round thanks to high qualification scores, the American compound men all opened with wins in their initial round of play. Logan Wilde (UT/USA) started strong, posting a 146-141 win versus Mirsolav Bojcun (SVK). Wilde then advanced to face Paul Titscher (GER) in the 1/8, who was too strong for Wilde, winning the match by 3 points, 147-144. Teammate Rodger Willett, Jr. (VA/USA) started his morning equally strong, taking his 1/16 match against Modesto Betances (DOM) with a 147-141 lead, and then advancing to meet seventh seed Peter Elzinga (NED) in the 1/8. Elzinga, regarded as one of the top male compound shooters on the international scene, tied Willett's score, but was unable to stop the American, who shot a closer-to-center tiebreak arrow to move to the quarterfinals. There, Willett faced Titscher, who proved unable to edge out the number one world ranked Willett, who won the match, 146-144.
Braden Gellenthien (VA/USA) also got off to a strong start, with early victories against Rigoberto Hernandez (ESA) in the 1/16 and Julio Fierro (MEX) in the 1/8, whom the American edged out, 148-143. It was in the quarterfinals that Gellenthien met his strongest opponent yet in Christopher Perkins of Canada, the young, newly crowned, World Champion. Gellenthien managed an upset with a 150-144 win, to advance to the semis, where he shot yet another successful match, this time against Italian superstar Sergio Pagni, who shot a strong 147 but could not stop Gellenthien, stronger with a 149.
Also making his way to the semifinals was World Champion Reo Wilde, who shot his way past opponents Jignas Chittibomma (IND) in the 1/16, and El Salvador's Jorge Jimenez in the 1/8, that time with a perfect 150. In the quarters, Wilde met Dietmar Trillus (CAN), who was strong enough to post a 146, but not quite strong enough to overcome the 148 from Wilde. Moving to the semifinals, Wilde faced his toughest opposition from teammate Willett, also determined to make the gold medal final. In a match that could not have been much closer, these two amazing archers both shot 149s, and Willett claimed victory only after a one point win in the tiebreaker. Willett earned his place in the gold medal match versus teammate Gellenthien, while Wilde will shoot for bronze versus Pagni.
The elimination rounds began late yesterday, with the 1/24 matches following the qualifications. Jacob Wukie (OH/USA) began his day with a match versus Viswash (IND), who proved to be a strong competitor. Though Wukie was able to take the fourth set, he was unable to recover in the final set, shooting a good 29 to his opponent's perfect 30. For Team USA's Joe Fanchin (CA/USA), and Jake Kaminski (CA/USA), it was a successful outing in the 1/24, coming out with wins to advance to the 1/16, along with teammate Brady Ellison (AZ/USA), who was pre-seeded into the 1/16 with his number one ranking.
Beginning the 1/16, Kaminski faced Yu Xing of China, ranked 22nd after yesterday's qualifications. Kaminski took his opponent to a tiebreaker after five sets, but shot an 8 to Xing's 10 in the shootoff, and was eliminated, 5-6. Fanchin met Thomas Aubert (FRA) in his own 1/16 elimination, which he won with a 7-3 victory to advance to the 1/8, where he took a more decisive win over Rick Van Der Ven (NED), the archer who advanced after his own victory against fourth-seeded Laurence Godfrey (GBR). Fanchin, seeking his first World Cup individual win, took a 6-0 shutout victory against Van Der Ven, only too meet fifth ranked Gael Prevost, the young sensation from France, in the quarterfinals. With yet another close match ending in a one arrow tiebreaker, Fanchin took a 6-5 win to advance to a semifinal meeting against teammate Ellison.
Ellison, defending his number one world ranking, won his 1/16 match versus Rick Van Den Oever (NED), and then shot his way to a narrow 6-5 victory against Luis Velez Sanchez of Mexico in a give and take battle that came down to whose ten was closest to center. Ellison then faced Jayanta Talukdar of India in the quarterfinals, one of the favored archers in this competition. With three quick sets, Ellison took a decisive 6-0 victory that brought him to his semifinal match against teammate Fanchin. The two Resident Athletes from the Olympic Training Center in San Diego, California each won a point in the first set, and each won a set after that, but Ellison then took four points to win the match and a berth to the gold medal final, where he will meet Dmytro Hrachov (UKR), while Fanchin will shoot for bronze against Ukraine's Markiyan Ivashko.
All of the Team USA compound archers, considered one of the strongest compound teams in the world, were pre-seeded into the 1/16. For the women, Erika Anschutz (TX/USA) will be America's sole entry into the women's compound medal matches, posting high scores for wins against Aimee Deaves (AUS) in the 1/16, and Patricia Tchepikoff (FRA) in the 1/8, respectively. In the quarterfinals, Anschutz met her strongest opponent yet in World Champion Albina Loginova of Russia, considered an archer to watch for this World Cup competition. With a five point lead, Anschutz took the victory, 145-140, to advance to the semfiinals. There, she faced Italy's Laura Longo, another heavy hitter in this international event. With just two points to spare, Anschutz took the semifinal win against Longo, punching her ticket to Saturday night's gold medal final. There, she will meet Marcella Tonioli, another member of the highly ranked Italian team, while Longo will shoot for bronze versus Parsamehr Mahtab (IRI).
Diane Watson (FL/USA) began her matches today against Manjudha Soy (IND), winning the match with a 141-134 advantage. However, Watson advanced to the 1/8 only to face friend and teammate Christie Colin (PA/USA), the number one qualified archer who had advanced past Esther Gonzalez of Mexico. In the matchup between these two strong American archers, it was Colin who took a narrow victory, just one point ahead of Watson, to advance to the quarterfinals.
There, Colin met the Italian powerhouse Laura Longo, the ninth ranked archer. It was just a two point advantage for Longo, but it was enough to secure her spot in the semifinals, with Colin retiring, 146-144. Multi-time world record holder Jamie Van Natta (OH/USA) opened her day with a 1/16 match against Great Britain's Lucy Holderness, who qualified in 34th yesterday. With a 141-139 win, Van Natta advanced to the 1/8, where her opponent was Iran's Seyedeh Halimianavval. The Iranian archer showed the same strong shooting displayed by her team throughout this season, eliminating favorite Van Natta by just one point, 145-144.
Team USA's Kristin Braun received a bye into the 1/24th, where she met Laishram Devi (IND), who was strong enough to take three sets for a 6-0 victory, eliminating the American archer. It was a surprising match result for Khatuna Lorig (CA/USA), the four time Olympian from America, who struggled a bit versus Tetyana Berezhna (UKR). Though Lorig took a strong 4 point lead, Berezhna came from behind to take the match, 6-4, stopping Lorig at the 1/24. Team USA archers Miranda Leek (IA/USA), the 18 year old sensation, and two time Olympian Jennifer Nichols (TX/USA) were pre-seeded into the 1/16 thanks to top 8 finishes in the qualfiication.
Leek opened her elimination matches with a 6-0 shutout victory over 35th seed Susanne Possner of Germany, who could not match the young American's scores. Leek then met her match in the 1/8 round in Alejandra Valencia, one of Mexico's top shooters, ranked 19th from yesterday. Though Leek took her opponent to five sets, winning two of them, she could not edge out Valencia, who advanced past Leek, 6-4. For Nichols, on the upswing this week after a difficult loss during the U.S. Pan Am Trials on Sunday, it was a 6-4 victory to begin her day in the 1/16, with a 6-4 win over Sabrina Struff of Belgium. Nichols advanced to face Kateryna Palenkha (UKR), with whom she was evenly matched, tying two sets and winning a third. However, the Ukranian archer clinched one-point advantages on the final two sets, advancing past Nichols, 6-4.
Making their way to the medal matches for the recurve women are Deepika Kumari (IND) and Ming Cheng of China, who will shoot for gold. In the bronze medal match, it will be Valencia of Mexico who will meet Ukraine's Palenkha.
The day continues with mixed team eliminations, and finals Friday and Saturday night from Lindquist Field, which will be broadcast live on ESPN3: http://espn.go.com/espn3/index/_/sport/outdoors. USA Archery will be reporting live from the event all week, with updates posted to Twitter and photo albums posted to Facebook. The U.S. team is supported by a full staff at this event, including National Head Coach KiSik Lee, Coaches Mel Nichols and Doug Ludwig, and Team Leader Cindy Bevilacqua. USA Archery thanks the Easton Foundations and the U.S. Olympic Committee for their support of the compound and recurve teams at this event. For live scoring, visit http://www.archery.org; for complete information on this event, visit http://www.ogdenwc.com.
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