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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah - The recurve finals day at the Hyundai Archery World Cup Salt Lake saw Olympians Mackenzie Brown (Flint, Texas) and Brady Ellison (Globe, Arizona) take center stage for the bronze mixed team final. Since the recent announcement of the addition of the mixed team event to the Olympic program, the event has increased significance.
"It's going to be the most competitive and the hardest medal to win," commented Ellison. "Everyone has a good man and woman so it's literally going to be the best of the best, I think it's going to be awesome. I don't think it's on anyone's radar yet or something that's really sunk in yet that it was added to the Games, we haven't even talked about it in our high-performance program, we haven't started training for it or anything like that, so as the year goes on, with World Championships, I think next year you'll start seeing the importance go up."
The U.S. duo started strong against Mexico's Alejandra Valencia and Juan Rene Serrano with a 2-0 lead. Mexico came back to take the next two sets and turned up the heat. Not to be denied the win, Brady and Mackenzie drilled a perfect 40 to bring the match back to a 4-4 tie.
The teams took to the line one last time for a shoot off and Brady and Mackenzie's solid gold arrows beat out Mexico's two in the red to take the win and the bronze medal. Throughout the close match, the two women shot stronger scores than the men to the delight of the crowd through the live commentary of George Tekmitchov.
"That kind of commentary is fun when you're talking to other countries and you know everybody," shared Brown, "so actually when I shook Alejandra's hand after the match, she was like 'yeah, let's do it, let's play the game!' I think that's great; we're going to have an international camp in the future with Mexico there so we should be able to do a girls vs. boys match."
Throughout the match, Brown and Ellison had solid communication and teamwork. Brown commented: "That was really important, we had a lot of communication on the practice field and then carried that over to the competition field. We had seen a lot of other teams earlier this morning shoot low arrows or have some mistakes there so if you notice that Brady had a high group, we both grouped on the high side to avoid that and then played with the wind and how everything was flowing."
Ellison added: "You do what you gotta do in those times, Mackenzie is a good shot, she tells me what she sees with the wind and she trusts me when I tell her what to do, and it comes from years of training together at the Training Center and knowing what each other can do. We've won together before and we're a team no matter what, it's Team USA, its something we do well together."
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