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ROME, Italy - Coming into the 2017 Archery World Cup Final in Rome this weekend, teammates Steve Anderson (West Jordan, Utah) and Braden Gellenthien (Hudson, Massachusetts) were ranked 2nd and 3rd on the circuit. Giving the crowd much to cheer for, both had incredible performances, taking wins in both medal matches.
Gellenthien, who had five World Cup Final Podiums to his belt in all five previous appearances - four silver, and one gold in 2012 - opened the season this year with an individual bronze in Antalya and later a mixed team gold in Berlin. Shooting side by side with Anderson, the two climbed the podium for USA winning team bronze in Shanghai, team silver in Antalya, and then team gold in Berlin.
In Anderson's first season in the Final, he leapt over teammate Reo Wilde (Pocatello, Idaho) in the rankings in the final event in Berlin, after going head to head with Gellenthien in the bronze final and taking the win. Anderson also took individual silver in Antalya and entered the final with one of the three highest arrow-averages, over 9.8!
Anderson took a solid 142-139 win in his quarterfinal match against Denmark's Andreas Darum after an early lead that continued to grow. Gellenthien earned a strong 146-144 win over France's PJ Deloche after standing at a tie in the third and fourth ends.
In a rematch of the Berlin bronze final, but with a much different atmosphere, Gellenthien and Anderson went head to head in the semifinals. In his 6th Final, Gellenthien kept his father behind him in the coach's box, while Anderson invited his wife, Linda Ochoa-Anderson, to coach him in his debut.
Gellenthien opened with a 30 to Anderson's 29. Anderson loosed an 8 with the second arrow of the second end that left him surprised, but commentator and USA Archery Interim CEO Rod Menzer shared: "It'll probably help him relax a little and become more focused."
True - Anderson calmly released the next 4 arrows into the 10 ring, while Gellenthien only dropped 1. In the fourth end, both shot 29s to allow Gellenthien to hold his 2 point lead. Anderson opened the final 3 arrows with a 10 to Gellenthien's 9, immediately narrowing the gap. Gellenthien was not to be denied another shot at gold and finished with two perfect 10s to take the win and advance. Menzer added: "They did USA Archery proud; great job, so fantastic! This was outstanding shooting from both archers."
In the bronze final, Anderson opened with a perfect 30, while his opponent, Demir Elmaagacli opened with a 27. In the second end, Anderson scored an 8 and immediately dropped the gap to just 1 point. Elmaagacli took advantage with a 10 and by the end of the three arrows, the archer from Turkey swung the lead in his favor.
As Anderson did a quick tightening of his bottom stabilizer between arrows, Elmaagacli retained his 1-point lead and held it through the fourth end to bring the score to 115-114. For the final three arrows, Elmaagacli opened with a 9 and Anderson did not let the opportunity go to waste - pulling out some perfect 10s, Anderson solidly clinched the win 143-142.
Gellenthien stepped up to the field and both he and Denmarks' Stephan Hansen proved it to be the gold final with stunning 30s to open the match. It wasn't until the 6th arrow that Gellenthien loosed the first 9 of the match. As Gellenthien pulled another 30, Hansen's release went off early on his final arrow of the end and an 8 gave the lead back to Gellenthien. He drilled another three arrows in the X ring as Hansen dropped one more point. With three arrows to go, Hansen dropped another two 9s and Gellenthien clinched the victory 148-145.
Complete results from the event are available at www.worldarchery.org. Tune in tomorrow to watch Brady Ellison compete in the recurve event live on The Olympic Channel. For more, follow USA Archery on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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