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COPENHAGEN, Denmark - World Archery Championships kicked off this morning with tough weather conditions and even tougher competition on the field. As crazy winds circled the fields, recurve archers battled it out for the coveted top 16 team seeds and resultant chance to shoot tomorrow to qualify for Olympic quota slots.
With the highest World Championships participation in history, top scores were cutthroat and incredibly close. The recurve women bounced in and out of the cutoff for team rounds, but in the last 18 arrows, LaNola Pritchard (Lehi, Utah) came from behind, jumping up in the ranks 22 places to a 37th place individual qualification and pushing the team into 14th, high enough to continue on tomorrow.
Ariel Gibilaro (North Branford, Connecticut) shot consistent halves to qualify 46th, while teammate and five-time Olympian Khatuna Lorig (West Hollywood, California) finished qualifications 54th. The experienced archer commented on social media: "I'm so proud of my team! I had little bit of a hard time on the second distance and my team as always got my back!"
Olympian Brady Ellison (Globe, Arizona) led the recurve men, Collin Klimitchek (Victoria, Texas) and Zach Garrett (Wellington, Missouri) in high performance to a 4th place team qualification. This rank puts the men in great shape for their first match tomorrow, which will determine whether the U.S. will send a full team to the Olympics.
Ellison and Klimitchek fought hard to stay in the top 20 all morning. Ellison nabbed the 7th seed and Klimitchek, although just 3 points behind Ellison, qualified 14th. Garrett improved throughout the day to qualify 60th.
Jamie Van Natta (Toledo, Ohio), who made her first World Championships team in 1997 and can't count how many teams she has been on since then, broke into the top 10 early in the game today. Van Natta finished her 72 arrows in 6th while teammates Crystal Gauvin (Dayville, Connecticut) and Lexi Keller (Omro, Wisconsin) qualified 20th and 51st respectively.
Braden Gellenthien (Hudson, Massachusetts), a World Cup Final champion and World Championships medalist, topped the men's compound qualification for the U.S. today, finishing 3rd just 3 points out of 1st. Alex Wifler (Crete, Illinois) scored his way into 50th and Reo Wilde (Pocatello, Idaho) qualified 115th.
Competition resumes tomorrow morning with all team round matches through the semifinals. A detailed schedule and complete results are available here. A live stream of the finals will be available on ArcheryTV. For more updates from the field, follow USA Archery on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Photo by World Archery.
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