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ROSARIO, Argentina - The World Archery Youth Championships continued today with individual and mixed team eliminations through the bronze finals. In addition to yesterday's compound junior men and women's bronze medals and both compound cadet teams and the recurve cadet men's teams' semifinal wins, the U.S. athletes added the compound cadet mixed team bronze and guaranteed four compound archers and the compound junior mixed team spots on the podium the gold finals.
The compound junior mixed team featured both top individual seeds Jesse Clayton (Powell Butte, Oregon) and Alexis Ruiz (Glendale, Arizona) for a powerhouse duo. With a bye into the quarterfinal, they came out of the gate hot with a strong 150 to Canada's 148 to head to the semifinals. There, Clayton and Ruiz continued to build momentum, coming out with an early lead and never looking back to take the win 153-151 to advance to the gold final this weekend.
Their cadet counterparts, Dane Johnson (Laotto, Indiana) and Sachiko Keane (Staten Island, New York), seeded 2nd, also had a bye into the quarterfinals where they faced the team from India. Both scored 147s for a one-arrow shoot off. The USA's perfect 20 took the win. With another 147 in the semifinal, and Turkey's 150, the U.S. duo headed to the bronze final where they faced another tough match with Russia.
Down two points, Keane and Johnson posted a perfect 40 in the third end to swing the match to a tie. The next four arrows matched shot for shot on each team and they reached a 148-all tie. Winning the bronze in spectacular fashion, Johnson and Keane took the shoot off win bringing an excited crowd of supporters to happy tears.
Jack Williams (Irvine, California) and Inga Pever (Houston, Texas) led the recurve cadet mixed team effort, upsetting India in the first round in a shoot off win. The 10th ranked team was stopped in the quarterfinals 6-0 by No. 2, Chinese Taipei.
In the individual competition, USA compound archers sealed spots in four individual gold finals. Clayton and teammate Curtis Broadnax (Social Circle, Georgia) will go head to head for the compound junior men's world title after decisive wins throughout the day. In the 1/16th, 3rd seed Broadnax had a 142-134 victory over Mexico's Elizondo Del Bosque while Clayton skated through by a point. Both U.S. men scored 142s in the 1/8th match as well, claiming solid wins to hit the quarterfinals where Clayton took a 144-131 win over Boggiatto of Italy and Broadnax forced a shoot off after a 146-146 tie with Brent-Meek of South Africa. Broadnax's perfect 10 took the win.
In the semifinals, their respective opponents each scored 142s, but the U.S. archers came back stronger with a 145 for Clayton and a 148 for Broadnax to advance to shoot for gold this weekend.
Ruiz also gave the crowd a show, reaching a dead tie half way through her semifinal match. Still tied with three arrows to go, Ruiz and Italy's Ret each scored another 27 points to bring the tally to 138-138. Both archers continued the suspense, shooting 9s, but Ruiz's was closer to the center and she earned the U.S. another shot at gold and the compound junior women's world title. Throughout her earlier matches, Ruiz had taken victories by at least 5 points in each, proving herself a dominant contender over the rest of the field. Ruiz will face Great Britain's Sarah Moon this weekend.
Compound cadet Ethan Merrill (Manchester, New Hampshire), seeded 3rd in qualification, also earned a slot in the gold final with a 10 point victory in the 1/16th this morning 141-131, a 138-135 win in the 1/8s and as the field narrowed, a 142-140 success in the quarterfinals. Merrill took on Australia's Rowley in the semifinals and took a four point lead in the first end. He followed with a perfect 30 and then never looked back, taking the win 137-132 to face Puerto Rico's Alvarado Fernandez for gold.
Adam Heidt (Springfield, Georgia), seeded 52nd, was the only U.S. recurve archer to clear the 1/16th round with a 7-3 upset of Spain's Garcia Caumel. He continued to drill arrow after arrow into the told to take another 7-3 victory in the 1/8ths against Colombia's Cadena Marin, who had upset 4th seed, USA's Jack Williams 6-2 in the previous match. In the quarterfinals, Heidt took on No. 5, Tang of Chinese Taipei. After two sets, they were tied 2-2, but Tang scored just one point higher than Heidt in each of the next two sets to take the win 6-2.
Compound archers Cassidy Cox (Albuquerque, New Mexico) and Sachiko Keane were upset in bracket shaking 1/8th matches. Cox fell to Italy's Ret; the two matched arrow for arrow for two ends, and were tied again with three arrows to go. Ret's 27 outscored Cox's 25 and the archer from Italy took the win 136-134. Keane was up a point after two ends, but scored a miss in the third end and was unable to recover the points against her opponent from Great Britain.
Sole remaining recurve junior Matthew Nofel (Colorado Springs, Colorado) made a strong run in Rosario, overcoming a 72nd place seed to upset several archers to earn a spot in the 1/16th elimination today. However, his run came to a 6-2 end, stopped by Jan Van Tongeren of the Netherlands.
In the same round, compound cadet archers Johnson and Anthony Ferraro (Scranton, Pennsylvania) faced early upsets. Johnson, ranked 2nd, suffered a 6 and a missed arrow in the first end. While he shot strong to come back, India's Rawat took the win 135-122. Ferraro had a close matchup with Turkey's Demirbas. Down four points after the first three arrows, Ferraro closed the gap to a tie at the half, but Demirbas edged ahead taking the win 136-135.
Last standing recurve cadet Pever, seeded 35th, opened the 1/16th strong with a 29 to her opponent from Korea's 29 to split the set 1-1. But, as the archer from Korea took the lead, the score shifted in her favor until she took a 7-1 win to stop Pever. Meanwhile, compound cadet archers Breanna Toedore (Hibbing, Minnesota) and Savannah Vanderwier (Sheffield, Texas), ranked 7th and 12th respectively, were also upset in the 1/16th. Vanderwier had a very back and forth match, ending in Haney of Turkey's favor by a single point, 138-137. Iran's Haddad took out Theodore 138-133.
Competition resumes for the U.S. archers on Saturday with the compound gold finals. Live results are available at www.worldarchery.org. Stay tuned for updates on a stream of the finals. For more, follow USA Archery onFacebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Photo: World Archery
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