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WROCLAW, Poland - Team USA could be taking home four team medals from Wroclaw 2015, on top of a potential four individual medals and a compound mixed team podium finish. Following the team's strongest qualifying day in recent memory, turning two first place and two fourth place seeds into four shots at hardware is an even greater success.
The recurve men's trio of Collin Klimitchek (Victoria, Texas), Sean McLaughlin (West Chester, Ohio) and Brady Ellison (Globe, Arizona) started out untouchable. With a decisive 6-2 followed by 6-0 win through to the semis, their path to gold appeared obvious. In the semifinals, China put up a good fight, forcing a shoot off, but the U.S.'s three arrows in the gold sent them into the gold medal final.
Ellison was shooting with his backup bow: "The string broke on the bow I was using at the worlds," he explained. "And I didn't have a backup string. It felt good. It's the first time we've been in a gold medal match for a while. We only had a couple of ends that weren't good. It's been a great day."
The recurve women - who will need a top finish at this event next year to qualify a full team for the Olympics - proved that they are top contenders for the precious few quota slots left. The U.S. ladies dropped only three set points total in their conquest for gold.
They will face Georgia in the finals this Sunday, the country where USA archery superstar Khatuna Lorig (West Hollywood, California) is from. She joked to World Archery: "It will be like four Georgians and two Americans fighting it out for the gold."
Jokes aside, Lorig has been part of Team USA for a decade and has no interest in seeing the Georgian team beat her, and teammates Mackenzie Brown (Flint, Texas) and LaNola Pritchard (Lehi, Utah), on the field on Sunday.
Braden Gellenthien (Hudson, Massachusetts), Reo Wilde (Pocatello, Idaho), Steve Anderson (Salt Lake City, Utah) were top scorers on the field through both compound men's matches (after had a bye into the quarterfinals), while their women's counterparts, seeded fourth, posted a field-high 224 for their first match and a field-low 209 in their second.
For the team led by Crystal Gauvin (Dayville, Connecticut), it was still enough for a bronze match berth to complete a clean sweep of USA team finals appearances.
Competition resumes tomorrow with compound finals which will be available on live stream on ArcheryTV. The complete schedule and results can be found here. For updates from the field, follow USA Archery on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Information attributed to World Archery Communications.
Photo by Dean Alberga.
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