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ROSARIO, Argentina - In yesterday's qualification round at the World Archery Youth Championships, many U.S. athletes poised themselves high in the brackets individually, and three of the four compound teams set new world records putting Team USA high on top of the rankings. Today's competition featured the second round of individual eliminations and team eliminations through the bronze finals.
The recurve cadet men's team, led by Jack Williams (Irvine, California) and teammates Andrew Park (Marana, Arizona) and Adam Heidt (Springfield, Georgia), took an early first round lead and clinched the win 6-2 over Kazakhstan. The 4th seeded team continued to the quarterfinals where they faced a matchup with 12th seed, India. The two split the first set before climbing the scoreboard to shut India out 5-1. Meanwhile, the 8th seeded team from Italy upset No. 1, Korea to go head to head with the U.S. in the semifinals.
Holding strong, the U.S. was tied 2-2 after two sets, but sealed the deal with incredible scores of 57 and 56 to ensure a spot in the gold final this weekend.
With all U.S. compound teams sitting in first in the rankings, all had byes into the quarterfinals and the compound junior women soared straight through to the semifinals.
The compound cadet women, defending their stronghold on the gold in this event since it was added to the program in 2006, picked up a 215-212 quarterfinal win over Australia on their way to the semifinals. The U.S. trio of Sachiko Keane (Staten Island, New York), Breanna Theodore (Hibbing, Minnesota) and Savannah Vanderwier (Sheffield, Texas) continued to dominate, taking a 13 point-advantage to win their semifinal match 217-204 over India, sealing their spot in the gold final.
After setting a new world record by an unbelievable 49 points yesterday, the compound cadet men took a 226-219 victory over Denmark in the quarterfinals. Dane Johnson (Laotto, Indiana), Ethan Merrill (Manchester, New Hampshire) and Anthony Ferraro (Scranton, Pennsylvania) pulled out another decisive semifinal win over Canada with a 231-220 match in their favor on their quest for gold.
Top ranked compound junior men's team, Jesse Clayton (Powell Butte, Oregon), Curtis Broadnax (Social Circle, Georgia) and Kolby Hanley (Cambridge, Vermont) had a bye through to the quarterfinals where they took a knockout win by 30 points over India to advance to the semifinals. Facing tough opponents in the team from Mexico, they took an initial 58-57 lead, but dropped a few points over the next few arrows. While they made a comeback in the final end, Mexico held their lead for a 229-228 victory, sending USA to the bronze final.
The U.S. team faced Great Britain for the bronze, and dropping just one arrow out of the 10-ring, USA took an early lead that grew another two points in the second end and another two with a near perfect 59 in the third. Six points up with six arrows to go, the path to the podium was clear. With a perfect 60, the USA claimed the win.
The compound junior women's team of Alexis Ruiz (Glendale, Arizona), Cassidy Cox (Albuquerque, New Mexico) and Sophia Strachan (Frederick, Maryland) made their debut of the day in the semifinal round against Great Britain. The team from across the pond opened strong with a three-point lead, and by the time there were three arrows to go, they had a nine-point advantage. A 6 opened the door for the U.S. women to close the gap, but it was not enough to turn the tides and a 217-212 decision led the U.S. squad to the bronze match.
Going head to head with Italy, the U.S. ladies opened up 55-54, but by the half, they were down 111-110. Not to be denied the win, they came back strong, keeping all arrows in the gold to secure the bronze in a strong 226-218 win.
The recurve cadet women, ranked 11th, faced a first-round exit despite a strong initial lead. Russia's team posted higher scores over the next two sets and while the two tied on the final three arrows, Russia took the win 5-3.
In the morning's individual eliminations, recurve junior Mattew Nofel (Colorado Springs, Colorado), ranked 72nd continued to shake the brackets, taking a 6-4 win to upset the 24th seed from Turkey, while teammate Joony Kim (Boise, Idaho) fell 6-0. On the cadet field, Williams' bye carried him through to the 1/16th match later in the competition - teammate Heidt will join him after a shoot-off win led the 52nd seed to upset No. 13 from Japan. Park exited in a 7-3 loss.
Recurve junior women Anna Miscione (Ramona, California) and Meghan Collins (High Springs, Florida) were also knocked out in today's match, along with cadet, Casey Kaufhold (Lancaster, Pennsylvania). Cadet Inga Pever (Houston, Texas) pulled a 6-0 victory to advance.
For the compound junior men, Hanley, ranked 20th faced an early upset in a shoot-off loss to El Salvador's Nolasco Carias.
Competition resumes tomorrow with individual and mixed team elimination matches through the bronze finals. Live results are available at www.worldarchery.org. For more, follow USA Archery onFacebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Photo: Gary Yamaguchi
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