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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah - As challenging conditions prevailed on the field today, USA archers battled through to earn three shots at team medals, with the compound men going for gold and the compound and recurve women going for bronze.
The top seeded compound men's team of Steve Anderson, Reo Wilde and Kris Schaff soared through matches, winning the quarterfinals with an 8-point lead, despite a 47 over the final four arrows. It was closing the semifinals that the trio posted a perfect 60 in strong and changing winds to clinch the win 230-221 over Chinese Taipei to face Mexico for gold this weekend.
"Today was absolutely brutal conditions, and other than one end - awesome," shared Anderson. "That was maybe one of the best performances I've been a part of as Team USA. It wasn't the best score, but given the conditions we did really well. We did all we could in very tough conditions to keep arrows in the 10 ring, and we limited big mistakes. You can't have big mistakes on a very bad weather day, you have to chip away at the score rather than give up a ton of points at once."
On having the opportunity to shoot for gold here at home, Schaff added: "It means a lot, I've got my family here and being in the States where everyone is coming to watch and cheering for us; I hope it gets loud in there."
Mackenzie Brown, Khatuna Lorig and Erin Mickelberry scored a shot at the recurve women's team bronze, upsetting China 5-3 in strong shooting in the wind. In the semifinals against Chinese Taipei, the U.S. trio opened strong, taking the first set by 5 points, but then fell 6-2 to shoot for bronze against Japan in the finals.
The compound women's team of Christie Colin, Lexi Keller and Jamie Van Natta entered the team rounds with a 4th place seed and defeated Canada 216-215 to face Colombia in the semifinals. After two ends, the USA trio was up, but a big swing in the next six arrows put them at a 2-point defecit. They brought it back to a 222-all tie and forced a shoot off, but Colombia took the win and the shot at gold.
In the most competitive bracket on the field, Brady Ellison, Jack Williams and Matt Requa breezed through a 6-2 first round win over Saudi Arabia before coming to a 4-4 draw with Italy in the quarterfinals. A 27-26 shoot off score gave Italy the win to advance.
Earlier in the day, USA archers also took the field for individual elimination matches through the semifinals. Braden Gellenthien, the reigning most decorated archer in outdoor archery world cup history, will be the sole U.S. archer in the individual finals this weekend, shooting for bronze against Russia's Anton Bulaev. Gellenthien climbed from a 10th place seed to upset teammate Reo Wilde with one of only two perfect 150s on the field all morning over Wilde's 147 before falling to Denmark's Stephan Hansen 145-146 in the semifinals.
All four U.S. compound men made it to the quarterfinal round to finish in the top eight. Top seed Kris Schaff was the king of shoot offs, winning two in the first two rounds, before falling by just one point to Bulaev. Steve Anderson put up two strong 147s before exiting 146-149 to Hansen.
Jack Williams was the last man standing on the recurve field, also making a top eight finish. Williams made his best ever individual world cup finish, smoking a 6-0 win over Canadian Olympian Crispin Duenas, a 7-3 victory over China's Li Jialun, and then put up a good fight against Australia's Ryan Tyack in the quarterfinals, but finishing the match 7-1 in favor of Tyack.
3rd seed Brady Ellison also had tough matches this morning. The Olympic medalist posted only 29s and 28s, but narrowly escaped his first match 6-4 despite great scores. Then, facing the Netherlands' Steve Wijler, Ellison continued to shoot and score well, but this time Wijler took the 6-4 win. 23rd seed Matt Requa also battled his way to a spot in the top 16 with a 6-0 win to start the morning, but he then fell 7-3 to France's Chirault.
Mackenzie Brown and Jamie Van Natta were USA's top recurve and compound finishers respectively, both going to the top 16. 5th seed Brown was stopped early in the 1/8th by Colombia's Ana Maria Rendon in a shoot off. 29th seed Erin Mickelberry held her own, scoring 2 set points on India's 4th seed Deepika Kumari in the 1/16th while Khatuna Lorig was upset 6-4 in a close race with Japan's Ren Hayakawa.
Van Natta also fell in a shoot off loss to Chinese Taipei's Chen Li Ju after both posting 144s. Teammates Lexi Keller, Christie Colin and Robyn Repp were all knocked out in the 1/16th. 26th seed Repp posted an impressive 145 to Belgium's Sarah Prieels' 146, and Colin also came up just one point short against her opponent. Keller's 143 was not enough to stop Denmark's Tanja Jensen with a strong 146.
This weekend will host the exciting head to head finals matches and a huge Archery Festival for spectators. Attendees will have the opportunity to try their hand at archery, play games, win prizes, taste local flavor at on-site food trucks and more!
Tickets are now available at http://archeryworldcupsaltlake.org. Tickets are $10 pp/session, and children ages 8 and under enter free. For fans watching from home, the finals will be streamed live on the Olympic Channel.
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