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Las Vegas, Nevada, USA - Team USA archers are off to a strong start at the World Archery Indoor Championships in Las Vegas, with strong performances on both the recurve and compound sides; the day also produced some surprises. At the end of qualification rounds, the U.S. led team qualifications in six of eight categories.
The recurves kicked off the event, starting with a 60 arrow qualification round at 18 meters, shooting the vertical 40 cm "three spot" target which is standard for this event. On the women's side, Team USA's Miranda Leek (USA/IA) started off very strong, leading the group for the first half with 297, and unofficial U.S. junior record. After 60 arrows, however, Russia's Ksenia Perova prevailed with a 584 to qualify first, along with Kristine Esebua (GEO) and Christine Bjerendal (SWE), who finished second and third with the same score.
The surprise of the day was Team USA's Brandi DeLoach (USA/GA), finishing sixth with a 582, and reportedly setting an unofficial FITA Star record. "I am so happy," a beaming DeLoach noted following the qualification round. "I did really well and really surprised myself. My coach really put me through my paces; he put me through every situation and scenario, and we just worked on endurance, and it really paid off today." Russia, USA and Italy top the team qualifications for recurve men.
On the men's side, it was Brady Ellison (USA/AZ), the number one world ranked archer, who shot a 592 to qualify first. Ellison, who shot a 597 in Nimes to tie the world record, has stated at recent events that he puts strong emphasis on mental training, to which he credits much of his success. Just one point behind the Olympian was Crispin Duenas (CAN), shooting 591. Japan's Naoya Oniyama followed in third with 585; Team USA's Jake Kaminski (CA) and Wunderle (NC) finished fifth and 19th, shooting 584 and 578 respectively.
"I shot the way I always do, which I'm really happy about," said Duenas following the end of competition. "I had a couple of mishaps but overall, it was how I practiced it, and the scores that came out were exactly what I shot in practice. I almost got Brady by one point, but he's number one for a reason." Despite Duenas' rally, Team USA was the top qualifier for recurve men, followed by Italy and Russia; Canada ended in fourth.
For the juniors, Ukraine and Russia dominated the recurve junior men's group, with Heorhiy Ivanytskyy and Vitaliy Komonyuk of Ukraine finishing first and second with 592 and 588 respectively; Beligto Tsynguev (RUS) ended third with 584. For Team USA, it was twin brothers Daniel and Sean McLaughlin (USA/OH) who led the pack in eight and twelfth places respectively, shooting 580 and 576. Resident Athlete Jeremiah Cusick (USA/CA) finished nineteenth, shooting a 569. Ukraine, Russia and USA topped team qualifications in this category.
Russia, Ukraine and the USA also led the recurve junior women's group. Germany's Isabel Viehmeier led with 581; she was followed very closely by Kristina Timofeeva (RUS) with the same score. Dobromira Danailova (BUL) ended in third, shooting 576. Team USA archers LaNola Pritchard (USA/CA), Ariel Gibilaro (USA/CT) and Sarah Bernstein (USA/NJ) finished in eighth, thirteenth and seventeenth places respectively, shooting 570, 552 and 519.
Compound archers took to the competition venue in the afternoon, and all eyes were on the U.S. team, which in total is defending seven gold medals at this event. For the men's and women's groups, there were Team USA archers in the number one spot, and the U.S. led team qualifications in both categories.
Braden Gellenthien (USA/VA) ended in first after sixty arrows, shooting 596; he was followed by Sebastien Peineau (FRA) and Great Britain's Duncan Busby (GBR), who posted 595 and 594. USA's Reo Wilde (ID) was tied for third as of press time with 594; Jimmy Butts (USA/NY) ended in ninth, shooting 590. In the men's group, France and Great Britain follow the U.S. for team qualification. There were very close scores in this group, with eight archers shooting off for spots in the elimination rounds, including Martin Damsbo (NED) and Dietmar Trillus (CAN); three of the archers also had to re-shoot for the last two places.
On the women's side, it was Christie Colin (USA/PA) who benefitted from careful practice to qualify number one with 588. Number one world ranked archer Erika Anschutz (USA/NE) followed just one point behind with 587, while Sweden's Petra Ericcson ended in third with 584. Team USA's Tristan Skarvan finished in a four way tie for tenth, hitting a 575. USA, Great Britain and Russia topped the team rankings.
"I'm very excited about the way I shot today; I'm very excited to be back at the World Championships because I haven't been here since 2007," Colin explained after hearing that she had qualified first. "I'm just shooting as much as possible; I have a hectic schedule, so whenever I can get some shooting in I do." When asked how many arrows she shoots per day, Colin responded: "Thirty to forty. I might shoot in the evening or the morning; it's quality, not quantity. I run through my shot as much as I can to perfect it, because I know I don't get a lot of arrows."
For the compound junior men, Mike Schloesser (NED) led the pack with 593; he was followed by Team USA archers Garrett Abernathy (USA/SC) and Bridger Deaton (USA/IA) with 589 and 586. Ben Cleland (OH) ended his day in the fifth position, shooting 585. Together, the American trio pushed their team to a number one seeding, followed by South Africa and Mexico.
The compound junior women's group was also led by the American archers, though Sarah Sonnichsen (DEN) led the category with her score of 578. However, Team USA's Sarah Lance (USA/MI) was just behind her with 576; Runa Grydeland (NOR) shot a 573 for third. Carli Cochran (USA/PA), in fourth with her 572, and Lexi Keller, shooting a 567 for twelfth, together helped to push their team to the top of the rankings, just ahead of Russia and Croatia.
USA Archery's coverage will continue daily throughout the week, with photo galleries on this website each day, as well as news from the event on this website and on Twitter. The finals will be also broadcast live on YouTube for the first time in the history of the event.
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