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June 21, 2011

Team USA Off to Strong Start at WRE

A young team of archers from the United States is proving that when it comes to shooting talent, age is nothing but a number. Sixteen team members, supported by three coaches and a team leader, are competing this week at the 11th Juan Enrique Barrios Cup, a World Ranking Event for World Archery Americas (formerly COPARCO). The event, taking place at Alberque Olimpico, Salinas, Puerto Rico, opened yesterday with a FITA qualification round, and continues through tomorrow with individual and team eliminations, followed by medal matches. 


All Team USA archers opened with strong performances yesterday. In the recurve junior men's category, it was Matthew Zumbo leading the charge, medaling at 70, 50 and 30 meters for a number one qualification score of 1251. Just behind him were U.S. teammates Peter Kelchner, medaling at 90 meters and qualifying second with a 1230; Josh Smith, taking the third position with 1190; and Aaron Henslin, shooting 1176 to take the fourth spot. 


On the recurve junior women's side, Mackenzie Brown, shooting up one age division for this event, took top honors with her score of 1224, medaling at 70 and 50 meters. She was followed closely by teammate Holly Stover, who shot a 1222 for second; Shannon Ostling, scoring 1218 points to hold third; and Emily Blake, who shot an 1164 for the fourth spot. 


The compound junior women also dominated their category, with recent World Cup team gold medalist Kailey Johnston shooting a strong 1365 for 1st place during her 50 meter compound qualification round. Sarah Lance followed in second with 1348; Paige Pearce, also shooting up for this event, ranked third with 1345, while Carli Cochran ended the day in fourth, shooting a 1331. 


Competition was tough on the compound junior men's side as well, but that didn't stop Garrett Abernathy from earning the top rank, shooting a 1382. He was followed by Daniel Castro (PUR), with a 1374, and Jean Pizarro (PUR), qualifying third with 1372. U.S. shooters Levi Cyr and Henry Bass took the 4th and 5th spots, while teammate Evan Scudner qualified 7th. 


In today's individual elimination rounds, Team USA archers virtually swept the event. Archers competing as juniors were entered in both the junior and open categories; thirteen archers will be competing in junior individual medal matches, while nine archers will also compete in the senior individual medal matches. 


"The heat index was 108 degrees today; during qualification it was 102 degrees," explained team coach Jim Pruitte. "Despite this, the athletes have been troopers and unwavering in their desire to do well."


In the men's recurve open category, Smith will shoot for gold while Zumbo will shoot for bronze. In the men's recurve junior group, Kelchner and Henslin will compete against one another for the gold; Zumbo and Smith will be shooting for bronze.  For the women's recurve open, it will be Stover in the gold medal match and Brown going for the bronze, while in the junior group, Stover and Brown will compete against one another for gold, and Ostling will try to take the bronze.


For the compound archers, Abernathy will compete for men's compound open gold; Abernathy will also try for the gold in the junior group, while Scudner will shoot for bronze. Johnston and Lance will bring their A-game to the women's compound open gold medal match, while Pearce and Cochran will try for the bronze; in the junior category, it will be Pearce and Johnston going for gold, and Lance and Cochran shooting for bronze. 


All of the competitors representing the United States are members of the Junior or Cadet United States Archery Teams. Kelchner, Smith and Stover are Resident Athletes at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif., while Brown is a member of the Junior Dream Team; Zumbo and Blake are both Junior Dream Team graduates. 


USA Archery thanks the Easton Foundations for its support of the team at this event. The athletes are assisted this week by coaches Linda Beck, Jim Pruitte and Rich Cockrell, and team leader Kathy Adams. Complete results from Monday's qualifying round can be viewed by clicking here. 

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