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SHANGHAI - After two days at the first World Cup event of 2014, Team USA has earned spots in three medal matches at this weekend's finals - one individual and two mixed team - with team eliminations still to come.
American compound and recurve mixed teams will both shoot for gold medals, while compound rising star Bridger Deaton (Pella, Iowa) hopes to earn a bronze.
Deaton could potentially be shooting for a medal trifecta - one in each team event, and one in the individual. His mixed team event, shot with World No. 1 Erika Jones (Grand Island, Neb.), started out strong with a 1/8 win versus Kazakhstan, a quarterfinal in which the team defeated Slovenia, and a victory over India in the semifinals. Deaton and Jones will face Korea in the gold medal final on Saturday.
Deaton told World Archery that he was hoping to make the American mixed team at some point this World Cup season. "To have it happen at the first stage is promising," he said. "Hopefully it will continue. I want to keep shooting well and go far in the individual, the team and the mixed team. As long as I keep shooting well, I will be happy."
In today's individual eliminations, Deaton was the sole American archer to earn a berth to the medal matches. As the number two qualifier, Deaton had a bye into the 1/16th round, which he won with a narrow one-point victory, and continued his winning streak in the 1/8th. Perhaps his toughest match of the day was a quarterfinal meeting with fellow American Reo Wilde (Pocatello, Idaho), whom Deaton edged out, 148-146.
Also going out in the individual quarterfinals was Jones, who was stopped by Korea's Bomin Choi, 143-145; teammate Sarah Lance (Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.) suffered a 144-149 loss to Sara Lopez of Colombia. Ellison was the sole American recurve archer to advance to the quarterfinal; Rick van der Ven (NED) defeated Ellison, 6-4, to advance to the semifinals.
The recurve mixed team duo of Mackenzie Brown (Tyler, Texas) and Brady Ellison (Payson, Ariz.) shot their way through victories in the 1/8th and quarterfinal rounds, and a 5-4 win over Great Britain in the semifinals. They'll face a tough squad from Mexico in Sunday's recurve mixed team gold medal match. "Mackenzie shot a really good shot, and I knew if I shot a 10 we'd win it," said two-time World Cup Final Champion Ellison. "So I just went out there and did it."
Both the men's and women's compound teams are well positioned for the team elimination matches that start Friday, in which teams of three people will face off against one another to determine which countries will shoot for gold, silver and bronze medals this weekend.
The recurve teams could also be in the hunt for medals this weekend, with the recurve men's squad qualifying fifth and the women in the number 12 spot.
While teams consist of each country's top three archers from the qualification round, mixed teams are made up of the top male and female qualifier from each country, and teams are paired based on bow type.
Follow all the action in Shanghai with live scores, photos and more at http://www.worldarchery.org.
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