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October 03, 2013

US Recurve Men Through to Gold Medal Final at World Championships

BELEK-ANTALYA, Turkey - The trio of Brady Ellison (Chula Vista, Calif.), Joe Fanchin (Oceanside, Calif.) and Jake Kaminski (Gainesville, Fla.) were Team USA heroes at the World Archery Championships this afternoon. Following a morning of tough competition in winds reportedly gusting from 60-80 km/h, the recurve men had a major turnaround, coming from a low seed to dominate the team round eliminations.

They began inverting the brackets by upsetting Australia in the 1/8th, plowing over the Ukraine in the quarterfinals, and then narrowly defeating France in the semifinals to earn their berth to the gold medal match later this week. The US men picked up two points in the first set against France, and retained a small lead throughout the entire match to clinch the win.

The men will shoot for the world title against the team from the Netherlands, who upset Korea today, posting high scores in the semifinals to send Korea to the bronze match against France.

The recurve women struggled through their first match, dropping two 4s in the third set and two lower-scoring arrows in their final set against Denmark; the U.S. recurve women's team will settle for a ninth-place finish for this event. Korea will face the No. 14 seed, Belarus for gold and Mexico will battle Denmark for bronze.

These team results followed difficult losses across the board in individual eliminations this morning. The greatest archery talents around the world achieved remarkably high scores during qualifications, which created close point totals and unexpected rankings to shake up expectations for brackets in each division. Then incredibly low scores started to appear in matches early this morning, with "tornado like" winds the culprit of shocking match results for Team USA. 

During individual eliminations in the morning, Braden Gellenthien (College Station, Tex.) survived the longest through difficult shooting conditions. His eventual demise came in the quarterfinals in his match against Alexander Dambaev (NED), who had upset No. 1 seed, Jesse Broadwater (Jennerstown, Penn.) in the previous match.

Joe Fanchin earned the greatest triumph of a difficult day. Despite a 71st place seed, Fanchin fired high scores to upset Cevdet Demiral (TUR) and then defeat Baasanjav Dolgorsuren (MGL). In three straight sets, Fanchin retired No. 10 seed, Sjef Van Den Berg (NED) to advance before Jay Lyon (CAN) stopped him in a five-set 1/8th match. The round of sixteen also witnessed Khatuna Lorig (West Hollywood, Calif.) exit the competition after three sets against No.3 seed, Chang Hye Jin (KOR).

Perhaps the most surprising upset of the competition was Ellison's elimination in his 1/24th match. Three straight sets of fair scores from number 56 ranked Alexander Liahushev (BLR) knocked the World Cup Final bronze medalist right out. No. 1 world ranked archers Erika Jones (Grand Island, Neb.) and Reo Wilde (Pocatello, Idaho) were eliminated in unanticipated 1/16th matches determined by reportedly "hideous" wind that caused both archers surprisingly low scoring arrows.  Jake Kaminski also conceded his loss to Jean-Charles Valladont (FRA) after five sets in the 1/16th.

USA's Carli Cochran (Willow Street, Penn.) and Miranda Leek (College Station, Tex.) battled fiercely in the 1/24th rounds, but both came up short after very close sets rotating leads. Jennifer Hardy (Sheyenne, Wyo.) also put up a valiant fight in her five set 1/48th match, but a single point gap in her final set ended her race. Gabrielle Cyr (Falmouth, Maine), the youngest competitor on the US team, was defeated as well, despite two 30s in a strong showing.  

Competition resumes tomorrow with compound team eliminations. Follow the action with live scores beginning at 2 a.m. Eastern U.S. time: Join the conversation about the World Archery Championships online with hashtag #WAC2013 on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 

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