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Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic - Team USA Archers capped off an amazing week at the IV Copa Merengue de Tiro con Arco World Ranking Tournament by continuing their strong performance through the Junior Olympic Rounds, Team Rounds and Mixed Team event.
In the Junior Olympic Rounds, Ben Cleland and Garrett Abernathy both won their semi-final matches in the junior compound men's category, and faced one another in the gold medal match, with Cleland won, 7-3. Jose Yunen (DOM) took the bronze, 6-0. For the junior compound women, Paige Pearce won her semifinal match with a 6-0 shutout to advance to the gold medal match against Valeria Aguirre (ESA), which she won with another 6-0 victory. The women's bronze medal match was a closer contest, with Jennifer Veloz (DOM) defeating Cecilia Lopez (ESA), 6-5.
For the junior recurve women, Michelle Gilbert took her semifinal match, 6-0, and met Lya Solano (DOM) in the gold medal contest. Solano ultimately won the gold with a score of 6-2, giving Gilbert the silver. Rosairys Guzman (DOM) took the bronze, 6-0. The United States did not enter any male junior recurve archers.
For the team rounds, the men's compound team of Ben Cleland, Rodger Willett, Jr. and Garrett Abernathy faced host country Dominican Republic for the gold medal in a very close match that was affected by winds that one archer described as "very tricky." After a 216-214 victory, the United States claimed the gold medal and the Dominican Republic the silver, while Trinidad and Tobago was declared the bronze medal winner.
The women's compound team of Paige Pearce, Diane Watson and Kendal Nicely also earned a berth to the gold medal match by virtue of their #1 ranking, and took the match against El Salvador with a decisive 213-197 victory. The Dominican Republic was awarded the bronze medal.
The men's recurve team received a bye into their semi-final match, where they met Puerto Rico and won, 197-171. While Puerto Rico went on to face Argentina for the bronze match, the U.S. team of Butch Johnson, Jacob Wukie and Peter Kelchner advanced to the gold medal contest, where they faced El Salvador, who won the match, 195-191, giving the United States the silver. "The wind made this a tough match," noted Johnson. "Everyone talks about the wind during this event, but it was a very strong, inconsistent wind that changed direction constantly. We did our best, but it made things difficult."
The recurve women's team of Heather Koehl, Michelle Gilbert and Nicole Rasor began their day with a 169-149 semifinal victory in their match against the Domincan Republic, from which they went on to face Ecuador for the gold medal. Showing their mettle under pressure, the U.S. team took the gold after a tied score of 189-189 and a one-end shoot-off, which they won, 25-16. The Dominican Republic won the bronze match.
The week's final event was the mixed team round, which consists of two person teams of mixed gender competing within the same equipment division. This round, introduced formally by FITA in 2009, has grown in popularity throughout the past year. For the compound side, Keith Trail and Sarah Lance computed for the United States, facing the Dominican Republic in the gold medal match. Trail and Lance were strong enough to win with 143 to the opposing team's 136, taking yet another gold medal for Team USA.
On the recurve side, the team of Rick Tollis and Erin Mickelberry met the team from the Dominican Republic in the semi-final but prevailed with a 123-110 decision. In the Gold Medal match, the U.S. team faced Argentina in a difficult and close match, which Argentina took, 125-123, giving the United States the silver. The Domincan Republic defeated Chile for the bronze medal in that contest.
Coaching and team leadership staff for this event were Mel Nichols, Doug Ludwig and Cindy Bevilacqua. Results from many of the matches from this event may be found online at http://www.fedota.org.
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