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August 20, 2017

Strong Start for USA at World University Games in Taipei

TAIPEI - The 2017 World University Games is the second largest multi-sport event in the world following the Olympic Games, created for collegiate student-athletes and it boasts archery in its program. Opening the event this morning was qualification rounds for the men's and women's recurve teams followed by early individual elimination matches.

Qualifying 5th as a team, Isabella Bastiani, World Field Champion Sophia Strachan of Columbia University, and Texas A&M's Allie Blazek each ranked 33rd, 20th and 7th respectively. Blazek's 683 put her just 6 points out of 1st place and guaranteed her a spot in later elimination matches. Strachan's 142-133 win over Singapore's Madeleine Ong also earned her a spot, but Bastiani faced a first-round elimination 140-139 to Malaysia's Norazam after a 5-point comeback with a perfect 30 in the final set.

For the compound men's team, reigning bronze medalist from Northern Arizona University, Paeton Keller, Michigan State University's Chris Bee and Adam Winey of Penn State University ranked 8th among 18 teams and  13th, 35th and 37th individually. Keller and Blazek also earned a 6th place rank as a mixed team duo.

In a first-round individual elimination, Keller and Bee eased through, Bee upsetting higher ranked archer on home turn, Taipei's Lin 140-139 while Winey fell 139-133 to Khazakstan's Fisher.

The recurve men's team faced several all-stars in the lineup including Rio 2016 Olympic Champions Kim Woojin and Lee Seungyun but shot strong to rank 14th as a team and Matthew Zumbo, Dillon McMenamy and David Wolfe were also 34th, 50th and 57th individually

For the recurve women, who qualified 8th as a team, Columbia University's Christine Kim took the top U.S. qualification slot, coming in 24th ahead of Texas A&M and USA World Cup team member Ariel Gibilaro, 27th and University of Arizona's Nicole Turnia, 31st in an incredibly competitive field. Korea's Olympic Champion Choi Misun set a new world record in qualification with a 687 to Ki Bo Bae's longstanding 686 record.

Together, Kim and Zumbo also qualified 14th for the mixed team event.

In early elimination matches, Wolfe had a close first round matchup that ended in a shoot off win over Kostash of the Ukraine, while McMenamy took a strong 7-1 win to advance to the 1/24th. There, Wolfe again had a close match, taking the win 6-4 in an incredible upset of 9th seed Yamamoto of Japan. Zumbo upset Singapore's Teo in a 6-0 shutout while McMenamy met his match in Poland's Sierakowski for a 6-0 loss.

All U.S. recurve women had a bye into the 1/24th round and, seeded in the upper half of the bracket, took solid wins to continue to tomorrow's matches.

Competition resumes tomorrow with mixed team and individual elimination matches through the semifinals. Complete results from the event can be found here. For more, follow USA Archery on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram

Photo courtesy of Gary Holstein

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