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Las Vegas, Nevada, USA - Team USA archers came to Sin City to roll the dice, and they've won big: the squad won gold, silver and two bronze team medals today, and will shoot for nine gold and one bronze medal in the finals of the World Archery Indoor Championships tomorrow. With today's wins, every member of the US team is guaranteed to bring home a medal from the World Archery Indoor Championships.
The day opened with junior team eliminations, and excitement ran high in the venue as spectators, teams and coaches crowded the exhibition hall. The USA recurve junior women's team of LaNola Pritchard (USA/CA), Ariel Gibilaro (USA/CT) and Sarah Bernstein (USA/NJ), which received a bye, opened their day with a tough semifinals meeting against the Ukrainian team. Losing the match by a significant margin (228-201), the Americans regrouped before their bronze medal match, and came out swinging against Canada. After tying the first end and being in the red for the second, the US team came from behind to win the bronze medal, 217-211, with defeaning cheers echoing through the hall. It was Ukraine who ultimately won gold, with Russia taking the silver.
The US recurve junior men's team of Jeremiah Cusick (USA/CA), Daniel McLaughlin (USA/OH) and Sean McLaughlin (USA/OH) faced the Netherlands team in the quarterfinals, a tough squad featuring favorite Rick Van Den Oever. After a 230-227 win, the US squad advanced to face Russia in the semifinals, tying the match but suffering a crushing loss in the tiebreaker by one point. Shrugging off the defeat, the team was able to refocus enough to gain traction in the bronze medal matchup versus Mexico, winning the bronze medal 226-224. Russia and Ukraine claimed the gold and silver medals, respectively.
For the compounds, the junior women and men were both byed into the semifinals. The women's team of Carli Cochran (USA/PA), Sarah Lance (USA/MI) and Lexi Keller (USA/WI) started out strong in their match versus Mexico and never looked back. Posting a strong 231 to their opponent's 206, the US team advanced to a tough gold medal match versus second-seeded Russia. The Americans were unable to edge out their opponents in this match, but secured the fourth medal of the compettion for the US, taking the silver while Russia claimed the gold, with bronze going to Croatia.
The compound junior men's team of Garrett Abernathy, Ben Cleland and Bridger Deaton opened with a 233 in their semifinal meeting with the Italian team, winning their berth in the gold medal match by five points. Going on to face the Mexican team, the Americans found success once again, shooting enough tens to hit a 232 to Mexico's 228, wining the first gold medal of the event for the United States. South Africa, following a victory versus Italy, took home the bronze.
The seniors took to the venue in the afternoon, and the crowd reached near-capacity in the exhibition hall as archers coming in for the beginning of the Vegas Shoot and Indoor Archery World Cup stopped to witness the excitement. A full field for the compound men required the US team of Jimmy Butts (USA/NY), Reo Wilde (USA/ID) and Braden Gellenthien (USA/VA) to start in the 1/8 round, and they advanced past Ukraine and Mexico by comfortable margins. Shooting in the semifinals versus a strong team from Canada, the US was able to maintain its momentum, posting a 236 to win the match by two points and advance to the gold medal final versus France, which will be shot tomorrow. Canada will meet Great Britain for the bronze.
The team of Erika Anschutz (USA/NE), Christie Colin (USA/PA) and Tristan Skarvan (USA/WI) was equally successful, starting their day in the semifinals with a meeting against Italy's powerhouse team of Marcella Tonioli, Laura Longo and Katia D'Agostino. Just three points off their own world record, the US took the match with a 233-228 win, and will face Russia in the gold medal final, while Italy and Great Britain contest the bronze medal match.
The US recurve teams fared equally well today. The women's team of Miranda Leek (USA/IA), Jennifer Nichols (USA/TX) and Brandi DeLoach (USA/GA) opened with a 232-224 win in the quarterfinals versus the team from Turkey, also just three points shy of the world record. The recurvers also faced a tough Italian team in the semifinals, reaching a 225-225 tie and forced to shoot a tiebreaker. Shooting a 29 to their opponents' 27, Team USA clinched their spot in the gold medal match versus Japan, with Italy facing Russia for the bronze.
To the shouts of a very excited crowd, the US men's team also concluded their day with a win. Brady Ellison (USA/AZ), Jake Kaminski (USA/CA) and Victor Wunderle (USA/NC) began in the quarterfinals with a 233-229 victory against Turkey. They were evenly matched in their semifinal match against Mexico, but still pulled off a win, 236-231 to punch their ticket to the gold medal final, in which they will meet the Russian team, leaving Mexico and Ukraine to shoot for bronze.
The finals begin tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. PT, and continue through the early evening; coverage will be live on YouTube and Twitter, which can be accessed by following the links below. Tennis superstar Andre Agassi will be present at the finals to present watches from World Archery sponsor Longines.
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