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MEDELLIN, Colombia - Erika Jones (Grand Island, Nebraska) and Reo Wilde (Pocatello, Idaho) showed the take-no-prisoners tenacity that makes them long-time winners in the sport of archery. Match by match, they methodically shot their way through increasingly difficult opponents, only to find themselves into the semifinals: Jones facing Russian powerhouse Albina Loginova, and Wilde meeting Dutch standout Peter Elzinga.
Two tough semifinal matches, and two different outcomes: Jones earned a tiebreaker win with a closer-to-center 9 after her match with Loginova tied at 142-all, while Wilde bowed to Elzinga with a two point deficit. Jones and Wilde, however, both punched their tickets to the finals this weekend, and Jones will go for individual gold, while Wilde will shoot for bronze.
"It went back and forth and I knew it was going to be a tough match - so I'm just glad I came out on top this time," Jones told World Archery in a post-match interview. In a social media update to fans, Jones noted: "Overall, I was happier with my shots today and relieved that everything fell into place."
Wilde, who was the gold medalist here last year, will have to content himself with shooting for bronze - but should earn valuable ranking points toward qualifying for the World Cup Final, which allows only the top eight archers per division. Both archers will also join forces for the mixed team bronze medal match this weekend, in which Team USA will meet Russia.
One by one, the rest of the U.S. team bowed out of individual competition today, but five key American athletes rallied, retiring only after tough quarterfinal losses. Fans were able to watch notable performances by Olympic medalists Jake Kaminski (Gainesville, Florida) and Brady Ellison (Payson, Arizona), as well as Americans Rodger Willett, Jr. (Gloucester, Virginia), Bridger Deaton (Pella, Iowa) and Paige Pearce (Red Bluff, California).
"I only did about that much better than #WCShanghai," Kaminski posted to fans on social media following a narrow loss to reigning Olympic champion Oh Jin Hyek of Korea. "Happy with making strong shots today for most of the arrows. Progress and happy to be back."
Other members of the U.S. team who were eliminated prior to the quarterfinals today include "Hunger Games" archery coach Khatuna Lorig (West Hollywood, California); Ariel Gibilaro, Mackenzie Brown, LaNola Pritchard, Collin Klimitchek and Jeremiah Cusick of the Resident Athlete Program in Chula Vista, California; compound veterans Jamie Van Natta (Toledo, Ohio) and Braden Gellenthien (Hudson, Massachusetts); and fellow compound archer Carli Cochran (Columbia, South Carolina).
Up next for Team USA are team elimination rounds tomorrow, in which compound and recurve athletes will go head to head in fast paced matchplay featuring three-person teams. Watch the action live at http://bit.ly/medellin2014, and follow @USAArcheryTeam on Twitter for USA Archery's live tweets throughout the event.
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