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King of Prussia, PA - The team that will represent the United States in the upcoming World Archery Indoor Championships has been selected, boasting a host of archery talent, including World Champion Reo Wilde (ID), World Cup gold medalist Christie Colin (PA), number one world ranked male archer Brady Ellison (AZ), and two time Olympian Jennifer Nichols (TX), along with many of the nation's brightest young archery stars.
Many of the team berths were hotly contested throughout the day, with archers changing positions within the top eight repeatedly based on wins or losses in the round robin matches, as well as thee arrow average score. The top three archers in each category were selected to the team. Some of the tightest races in the top three included the showdown between compound archers Tristan Skarvan (WI) and Stephanie Gallagher (PA), who were tied at the end for the third team position; Skarvan punched her ticket to Las Vegas with the match win, joining Colin and Erika Anschutz (NE) on the team.
For the men's compound, Wilde and Braden Gellenthien (VA) were locked in a back and forth contest throughout the day, but Wilde managed to pull just ahead in the final matches. Jimmy Butts (NY) will join them at the World Championships in what will be his second World Championships for the USA, having competed also in 1999.
On the recurve side, Nichols and Pan American Games teammate Miranda Leek (IA) also fought for the first team spot, with Nichols eventually securing top position; newcomer Brandi DeLoach (GA) took the third berth in a strong performance that surprised spectators. "I've just been shooting my local (tournaments), but this summer I decided to kick it into gear and got a coach, and I've been training really hard," noted the Atlanta resident, who works with Coach Mark Luman.
For the recurve men, Jake Kaminski (CA) took the lead from Ellison for part of the day, but was unable to edge out the Olympian for first place. In third is Victor Wunderle (NC), three time Olympian and two time Olympic medalist. Together, the team will seek to defend the World Championship title won by Ellison, Wunderle and Staten Holmes in 2009.
The U.S. has historically found success at the World Indoor Championships, bringing home a total of seven gold medals at the 2009 event in Poland. However, the last individual recurve gold medal won by a U.S. archer was taken in 1993 by Jennifer O'Donnell - and the U.S. has never claimed an individual recurve male World Archery Indoor Championship title.
Setting the bar high for himself is Ellison, who will compete in his seventh World Championship next month. "I shot a little better than I expected to this weekend," he explained following today's competition. "I have a bow that's shooting absolutely awesome [Hoyt HPX] and we have a really good team, too. The World Championships are at home, and we don't get that very often, so we're all going to train as hard as we can."
The youth teams will also have the benefit of talent and experience. On the junior compound women's team, Sarah Lance (MI) will make a return trip to the World Indoor, and together with teammates Carli Cochran (PA) and Lexi Keller (WI) will seek to reclaim the gold medal won by the U.S. junior compound women's team in 2009. Garrett Abernathy (SC) and Ben Cleland (OH), teammates on the gold medal winning 2009 World Championship Team, will look for a second consecutive win with the addition of teammate Bridger Deaton (IA).
Twin brothers Sean and Daniel McLaughlin (OH) may not be identical in appearance, but they posted similarly high match scores throughout the day today to finish tied for the number one spot. The brothers, both undefeated until the sixth of seven matches today, faced each other in their last contest, with Daniel winning the match - and then competed in a one-arrow shoot off for first place, which Sean won. Resident Athlete Jeremiah Cusick (CA) will join them in Las Vegas.
This is the third World Championship event for Daniel and the first for Sean. "The nice thing about having a twin brother involved in the same sport and competing at a high level is that we shoot matches against each other all the time," explained Daniel, who is also still in the running for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials. Sean commented on his own excitement about the upcoming Championships: "I'm looking forward to the experience of going and being part of the World Championship Team - I can't wait for it."
There was also movement throughout today in the ranks of the junior women's recurve category. Junior Dream Team member LaNola Pritchard (CA) edged out top qualifier Ariel Gibilaro (CT) for the top team position. These two archers, along with Columbia University Team member Sarah Bernstein (NJ) will shoot in their first World Championship event.
The World Archery Indoor Championships will kick off in Las Vegas, Nevada on February 5 with official practice, and competition beginning February 6. The event, co-hosted by USA Archery and the National Field Archery Association at the Southpoint Hotel and Casino, is expected to draw over 350 of the world's best archers. Visit http://www.worldarcheryindoor.com for more information. Click here for complete results from this weekend's team selection event.
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