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BERLIN - World Archery called it a "strong message from the States' newly-formed worlds squads." Three gold medals and a bronze at the fourth stage of the Hyundai Archery World Cup spoke for themselves, as the USA compound women's, men's and mixed teams all clinched the top spot on the podium - and an individual bronze to round out the medal haul.
This week's fourth and last World Cup event of the season - before the World Cup Final and the World Archery Championships - was an important training event for a U.S. compound team that included a solid mix of veterans, like bronze medalist Braden Gellenthien (Hudson, Massachusetts) and relative newcomer Kris Schaff (Billings, Montana). This is the first event in which the entire compound World Championships squad has competed internationally as a team, and it was a resounding success.
According to World Archery, the USA women's squad of Paige Gore (Red Bluff, California), Lexi Keller (Omro, Wisconsin) and Cassidy Cox (Albuquerque, New Mexico) - ranked second after qualification - faced an outperforming number nine team from Great Britain, who upset top-seeded Mexico in the eliminations, in the final.
Tied at 55 points after one end, the British team put in an eight and a seven at the back of the second end to fall behind. They managed to claw ground back over the back half of the match, but a perfect three 10s from the American trio put the match out of Archery GB's reach. It is both teams' best finish of the season in the compound women's team event.
"It was a really tough match. It put us to the challenge with the rain, the wind and how our equipment was, but I think we figured it out really quick and then worked together really well to keep up with the conditions when they were changing," said Keller.
The three young American athletes, none of whom are older than 22 years of age, who were selected to represent Team USA at the next World Archery Championships ahead of more experienced archers, have found quick form prior to the worlds.
There was continued excitement for Team USA fans as the compound men's final with Denmark went down to a shoot-off after the two teams tied at 233 points following the regulation 24 arrows. They then drew again, with perfect 30-point groups in the shoot-off - but the U.S. had an arrow closer to the middle of the target, and was declared the winner.
"This is a good World Cup victory - but we beat them, they beat us and that will probably continue back and forward. The real prize for us is still in October in Mexico," said Steve Anderson (West Jordan, Utah), referring to the Antalya final - where the Danish team won.
"This is our first time shooting together as a team," added Gellenthien. "I think we gained a lot of confidence today and it's going to be a good step moving forward. I'm really excited for Mexico City."
Anderson shot first in the U.S. rotation, new team member Schaff second and Gellenthien third.
Gellenthien also appeared in the mixed team event, where he and Gore competed against Mexico for the gold medal - and won. The Mexican team was a tough pairing of Linda Ochoa-Anderson and Julio Fierro, with Ochoa ranked fourth in the world. Team USA, however, scored a three-point lead in the second of four ends, and never looked back, finishing atop the podium with a 156-153 win.
The squad's sole individual medal today was guaranteed to Team USA by virtue of a matchup between Anderson and Gellenthien. The pair tied with near-perfect scores in the first and second ends of the match, and then Anderson took a one-point lead in the third end. The match swung in Gellenthien's favor, however, when Anderson dropped a point in the fourth end, tying at 117-all, and Gellenthien was able to shoot a perfect 30 in the last end for a one-point bronze medal win.
Team USA recurve archers Mackenzie Brown (Flint, Texas) and Brady Ellison (Globe, Arizona) will take to the stage tomorrow to compete for mixed team bronze in the recurve finals and last day of competition at the Hyundai Archery World Cup. Results are available at www.worldarchery.org. The finals will be live-streamed on the Olympic Channel. For more, follow USA Archery on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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