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The final day of the US Open was fraught with suspense and excitement for the many spectators present, with several tie breaks and some surprising results. The day began under threatening clouds which produced a brief, intense downpour, but that didn't deter the country's best target shooters, who stepped onto the field in pursuit of gold.
The quarterfinal eliminations produced some close matches. In the men's recurve, Olympian Brady Ellison (CA), currently ranked number two in the world, was pitted against Taylor Worth (AUS), who ultimately defeated Ellison and advanced, following a very close match. Five-time Olympian Butch Johnson (CT) won his quarterfinal match against Rick Tollis (NY), 6-2, while Olympic teammate Vic Wunderle (NC) defeated Resident Athlete Jacob Wukie (CA), 6-2. First-place qualifier and National Champion Jake Kaminski (CA) faced Dan Schuller (PA), and defeated him in four sets, 7-1.
For the women, Olympian and National Champion Jennifer Nichols (TX) was scheduled to shoot against Nien-Hsiu Yang (TPE), who did not compete today, advancing Nichols to the semi-finals. Resident Athlete Kristin Braun (CA) faced four-time Olympian Khatuna Lorig (CA) for her quarterfinal match, ultimately retiring after being defeated by Lorig, 4-2. Fellow Resident Athlete Heather Koehl (CA) competed against Hye-Youn Park (KOR), who defeated Koehl 7-3 and advanced. Stephanie Miller (IL), daughter of Masters division medalists Mark and Kathy Miller, faced Nicole Rasor (AZ) in her match, advancing after winning that match, 7-1.
Compound shooters also faced intense competition in their matches. For the men, Keith Trail (NC) faced Logan Wilde (ID), whom he narrowly defeated to advance, 6-5. Third-place qualifier Braden Gellenthien (VA) shot against Jason Carbaugh (PA), winning that match, 6-4, while Darrin Christenberry (IN), who qualified second, shot against Tim Gillingham (UT) emerging victorious from that match, 6-4. Rodger Willett, Jr. (VA) made strong shots in his match against Glen Thomas (PA), retiring Thomas and moving on to the semifinals.
For the compound women, second-seed Christie Colin (NY) faced Diane Watson (FL), whom she defeated to advance, 6-0; National Champion Erika Anschutz (OH) won three sets against Tristan Skarvan (WI), 6-2, moving on to the semi-finals. Jamie Van Natta (OH), who qualified third this week, also took her match by four set points, against Samantha Neal (NY), 6-2. The remaining match for the compound women was shot between Kendal Nicely (ME) and Seneca Francis (UT); Nicely performed well enough to defeat Francis 7-1 and move forward.
In the recurve men's semi-finals, Taylor narrowly defeated Johnson in a single arrow shoot off, propelling him to the gold-medal match, 6-5. Wunderle defeated Kaminski by four set points, 6-4, advancing to the gold medal match against the Australian, with Kaminski facing Johnson for bronze. For the women, Lorig defeated Park, 6-4, which Nichiks defeated Miller by the same margin; Lorig and Nichols would face off in the gold medal match, while Park and Miller would vie for silver.
In the compound men's group, Gellenthien defeated Christenberry in a 6-0 shutout to advance to the gold medal match against Willett, who won his match against Trail by a close margin, 6-5, leaving Trail to compete with Christenberry for the bronze. There wee decisive victories for two of the compound women, wihh Anschutz winning her match against Nicely, 6-4, and Colin defeating Van Natta, 6-2, pitting Anschutz and Colin against one another for the gold, and Nicely and Van Natta for the bronze.
Spectators were treated to close medal matches in all classes, which were viewable from bleacher-style seating, with instant electronic results as well as running commentary from USA Archery CEO and three-time Olympian Denise Parker. The women's recurve matches were shot first, in which Miller defeated Park for the bronze medal, 7-3. In the gold medal match, Lorig took the gold and Nichols silver, after a very close match in which both women made very strong shots, resulting in a single arrow shoot off, 6-5. The recurve men followed; Kaminski led Johnson for the first two ends, and despite a comeback from Johnson for the last two sets, Kaminski closed the match out with a win in the fifth set to take the bronze. The gold medal match was a more decisive victory for Worth, who took the gold with four set points over Wunderle, 6-2, who finished the day out with a silver medal.
The compound women were next to take the stage, and Anschutz continued her outstanding shooting performance, quickly defeating Colin, 7-1, and winning the gold medal to Colin's silver. In the bronze match, Van Natta and Nicely both shot well in a close contest, but Nicely defeated Van Natta in the end, taking the bronze medal with a 6-4 victory. The men were equally good at keeping the audience in suspense; though Christenberry defeated Trail for the bronze by a comfortable 7-1 lead, Willett and Gellenthien kept spectators engaged until the very end. Though it looked as though it would be a shutout for Willett, Gellenthien mounted a strong comeback, gaining four set points to tie, but finally losing the fifth set to Willett, who won the gold medal.
USA Archery congratulates all of this week's winners, and extends thanks to Tournament Director Steve Cornell, and the Butler County Visitors' Bureau.
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