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MEXICO CITY, Mexico - Eliminations at the World Archery Championships saw Team USA come out strong this morning, earning two individual shots at bronze. Then in an afternoon of team rounds for the compound archers, the U.S. men's team was on fire and catapulted themselves into the gold final.
Mackenzie Brown (Flint, Texas) in her World Championship debut overcame some incredibly tough matches to win a spot in the bronze final. After a shoot off win in the quarterfinals and a hard fought 6-4 decision in the semifinals, Brown commented: "I'm really happy with my performance. All my preparation and hard work are finally coming together to a shot I'm happy with and that feels really natural to me."
She added: "I had a lot of matches that were against really great competitors, one of my good archery friends, Lisa Unruh (Germany) was one of my first matches and I always really enjoy shooting against her mainly, because she's a friend, but also an awesome competitor; an Olympic silver medalist -it's always good experience to shoot with someone like that and then Kang (Korea), that was a good, solid match. I really worked the set system and shot good ends when I needed to, and had a pretty good shoot off arrow. It was really all about the mental process today and making sure I focused on my shot and the process I was running through the day. Every competition I go into is one that I'm trying to learn from and I've already learned lots of invaluable things from this competition."
On the compound men's field, Team USA' Steve Anderson (West Jordan, Utah) and Kris Schaff (Billings, Montana) traveled all the way to the World Championships, to lose only to U.S. competitors. Both falling only to Braden Gellenthien (Hudson, Massachusetts), Anderson took the 1/8th match to a 149-149 tie, and while both statesmen shot 10s, Gellenthien's was millimeters closer and he took the win to advance.
In the quarterfinals, Schaff was coming off a strong win over Italy's Sergio Pagni before meeting Gellenthien. After three ends, Gellenthien was still clean and two arrows had gotten away from Schaff's ten-ring. Gellenthien closed out the match 148-147 to face Denmark's Stephan Hansen for the semifinals. Again, Gellenthien was clean after three ends, up one point over Hansen. But a few nines in the next six arrows gave the Denmark archer the advantage. Gellenthien commented: "My shooting felt really strong today, but going for bronze is always a disappointment when it comes so close, but I'm really looking forward to the team round this afternoon helping team the best that I can."
As the team round competition began, USA opened with the highest score on the field to take a 235-225 victory over Germany. In the quarterfinals, the U.S. win streak continued, with a 237-230 blowout over Canada and a semifinal 236-233 win over Colombia to face Italy for gold this weekend.
Post competition, Gellenthien added: "This is only the second time the three of us have shot together as a team and the communication and comfort that we've gained by shooting together just since Germany was something we really needed. It really helped us out there today. There were a few ends where the wind shifted and we shot 9s on the first arrow and we communicated and told each other where to aim and did a lot better. I think that's what helped us gel together as a team."
The 9th seeded U.S. compound women's team made an impressive first round upset with a 227-220 over Turkey with strong shots. While good communication continued between the trio of Paige Gore (Red Bluff, California), Cassidy Cox (Albuquerque, New Mexico) and Lexi Keller, the top ranked team from Korea had a small margin of error and took the win 233-228.
Competition resumes tomorrow with mixed team elimination matches through the semifinals. Results throughout the competition are available at www.worldarchery.org. The medal matches this weekend will stream live on the Olympic Channel. For more, follow USA Archery on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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