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May 07, 2011

Gold, Silver and World Records for USA at World Cup

Porec, Croatia was the scene for the first Stage of the Archery World Cup series, which opened on May 2. Archery's greatest teams descended upon this coastal town, with over 350 of the  world's top archers competing for medals.

According to World Archery Communications: "Porec has been a host of the Archery World Cup in all the editions but one (2007) and organized the very first stage, back in 2006. The Archery World Cup comprises four stages that will allow the top 7 athletes per category to qualify for the Final in Istanbul. They will be joined by one wild card from Turkey. The other legs will take place in Antalya (TUR), Ogden (USA) and Shanghai (CHN). The best mixed teams of the season will also to Istanbul to challenge the host."

The event opened with qualification rounds for recurve competitors. Shooting a full FITA round (144 arrows at four distances), the Koreans Jin Hyek Oh and Dong-Hyun Im earned the top two spots, shooting a 1359 and 1352, respectively. Laurence Godfrey (GBR) qualified no. 3 with his score of 1346.

Team USA made a good showing on qualification day, with 2010 World Cup Final gold medalist Brady Ellison qualifying 6th with 1341, and National Champion Jake Kaminski taking the 15th spot with 1325. They were followed by fellow Resident Athlete Joe Fanchin in 18th, shooting 1322 at his World Cup, and Thomas Stanwood, qualifying 47th at his first World Cup event with a 1291.  Together, their scores earned them the no. 3 seed in the team qualifications.

For the recurve women, it was the Korean team, featuring two new archers for this year, who dominated the ranking round. Dasomi Jung shot a 1374 for the no. 1 spot, while Bo Bae Ki took 2nd with a 1362, and Gyeonghee Han qualified no. 3 with her score of 1349.

Four-time Olympian Khatuna Lorig led the U.S. women's team, qualifying 27th with her score of 1303; she was followed by Miranda Leek, in 46th for her first World Cup with 1281; Erin Mickelberry, shooting a 1232 for a ranking of 78th in her first World Cup, and Resident Athlete Kristin Braun, qualifying 82nd with a 1218.  The U.S. qualified 16th for the recurve women's team qualifications. 

On day 2 of the World Cup, the U.S. compound teams took to the field, hoping to post scores consistent with last year's standout performances. It was nothing less than a world record day for the compound men, with Reo Wilde qualifying No. 1, setting a new world record with his score of 711, just nine points shy of perfect in the new 50m round. 

He was joined in the top three by Braden Gellenthien, qualifying 2nd with a 707, and Dominique Genet (FRA), who shot a 707 for 3rd. Team USA's Rodger Willett, Jr. ended with a 698 for 16th, while teammate Darrin Christenberry qualified 39th with a 692.  The compound men set an additional world record with their team qualification score, taking the no. 1 seed with a 2116.

The U.S. compound women also had a very strong start to the event, with all of the U.S. women finishing in the top ten. Leading the group was Christie Colin, qualifying no. 1 with her score of 696. USA's Jamie Van Natta followed closely with a 695, while Gladys Willems (BEL) qualified 3rd with 693. Team USA's Erika Anschutz took the 4th spot with a 692, while Diane Watson finished in 8th, shooting a 684.  With their own score of 2083, the compound women's team set another world record for the day in the team qualification.

Head-to-head team, mixed team and invidual matches took place over four days, in which the U.S. successfully positioned itself into the finals in nearly every category. For the recurve men, there was great excitement in the 1/8 eliminations as USA's Kaminski upset the favored Im (KOR), retiring him in a 6-0 shutout.

In the quarterfinals, Ellison and Kaminski both defeated their opponents from Great Britain and El Salvador, respectively, only to meet one another in the semis. After a 4-0 start from Kaminski, Ellison fought back to win the match, 6-4, to face Korea's Woojin Kim in the gold medal match. Kaminski, meanwhile, earned a berth to the bronze medal match to meet 2008 Olympic gold medalist Victor Ruban (UKR).

In the final, Ruban took the bronze after a 7-3 win over Kaminski, who won the first set and tied the second before being stopped by Ruban.  In the gold medal match, it was a solid victory for the USA, with Ellison winning the first set, tying the second, winning the third and tying the fourth to give him six set points to Kim's two.

For the recurve women, the U.S. archers all retired prior to the quarterfinals; there was tough competition as the remaining archers vied for berths into the finals. Pia Carmen Lionetti (ITA) advanced to the semis, where she upset Jung (KOR) with a 6-5 win to take her spot in the gold medal match against Han (KOR).

In the bronze match, it was a contest between Korea's Jung and Ki, who went five sets before Jung took the medal with a 6-5 win. Lionetti, fighting for the gold, was unable to stop World Cup newcomer Han, who won the match with a decisive 7-1 victory. 

The compound men's contests were equally exciting, with all of the U.S. archers but Willett being eliminated prior to the quarterfinals. In the semi's, he took a strong 147-141 lead over Hernandez (ESA) to advance to the gold medal match, where he would face 11th seed Jorge Jimenez (ESA).

In the bronze match, it was Martin Damsbo (DEN) who shot the high score, taking the bronze from Hernandez with a 145-142 win, while Willett shot a solid 148 to Jimenez' 144 to take the gold medal for the U.S.A.

For the compound women,  teammates Watson and Colin faced one another in the quarterfinals, with Watson taking the match by one point to advance to the semis. Anschutz, facing fellow powerhouse shooter Albina Loginova, defeated the Russian in a tiebreaker to meet Watson in the semis. Anschutz, taking the match by two points, moved on to face Viktoria Balzhanova (RUS) for the gold, while Watson shot against Italy's Laura Longo for the bronze.

In the bronze match, Watson held her own but couldn't quite stop Longo, missing the medal by just two points. In the gold medal match, it was a margin of two points that gave the U.S. one of three individual gold medals for the event, with Anschutz taking the match, 143-141.

Team USA archers remained strong in the team and mixed team finals, with the U.S. recurve men (Ellison, Kaminski and Fanchin) taking the gold medal, 221-219, in a two-point match against rival India, whom the U.S. has met several times in the World Cup events. It was bronze for Korea, who stopped the team from the Ukraine with a  223-209 win.

The Korean women again dominated the recurve women's team event, taking the gold 220-207 in their match against Russia; Germany won the bronze medal in their match against India, with a score of 209-202. The U.S. women (Lorig, Leek and Mickelberry) were eliminated by Korea in the 1/8 round, shooting a 211 to Korea's 219.

The compound men's team of Wilde, Gellenthien and Willett was solid throughout their eliminations, ultimately defeating the team from Denmark with a 233-229 win to bring home yet another gold medal for the U.S.A. In the bronze match, Iran took a 222-216 win over the Netherlands to end with the bronze medal.

For the compound women, the U.S. team of Anschutz, Colin and Van Natta got as far as the 1/8 round, where they were stopped by Sweden; ultimately, it was France that defeated Sweden for the gold medal, 221-217, while Russia took the bronze over Italy, 224-222.

In the recurve mixed team event, it was a silver for the U.S.A., represented by Ellison and Lorig, who shot against Korea, who took the gold medal with a 148-146 win, while the team from Spain took the bronze versus Poland, 145-143.  For the compound, it was a gold medal for the U.S. team of Wilde and Colin, who shot a 155 to Slovenia's 150. France, in a one-arrow shoot-off, won the bronze medal versus Russia.

Team USA returns with three individual gold medals, two team gold medals, mixed team gold and mixed team silver, as well as three new world records. They were led by National Head Coach KiSik Lee, who was assisted by 2010 National Coach of the Year Mel Nichols. The team was also supported by Team Leader Cindy Bevilacqua. The United States Olympic Committee provided funding for the recurve teams, while the compound teams were funded by the Easton Foundations. For complete results, visit http://www.archery.org

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