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With one opportunity remaining this year to secure a single quota spot for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, the recurve women's team of Khatuna Lorig (Los Angeles, CA), Jennifer Nichols (Cheyenne, WY) and Miranda Leek (Des Moines, IA) had no choice but to deliver under pressure. Showing the mental toughness that comes with 25 years of training, and the fearless shooting that comes with youth, Lorig and Leek each won their 1/16 elimination matches, securing the all-important women's quota spot for the United States.
Lorig opened her day facing Celine Bezeault (FRA). Wasting no time, the four-time Olympian took the match in three quick sets, with a 6-0 shutout win. Leek had a similar performance versus Laishram Devi (IND); though the 18 year old American gave up one set and tied another, she was strong enough to win the match with a 7-3 score. For her first match, Nichols drew number two ranked Dasomi Jung (KOR), who took each of the three sets against the two time Olympian, eliminating Nichols in the 1/16.
Lorig went on to face Denisse Van Lamoen (CHI) in the 1/8 matches, and was unable to stop her; Lorig was eliminated with a 3-7 loss. Leek met Jung in her own 1/8 match, and could not outscore the number two seed Korean archer, finishing with a 1-7 loss. However, in winning their 1/16 matches, Lorig and Leek secured the all-important quota spot for the U.S., guaranteeing the first berth to the Olympic Games for the U.S. recurve women. The U.S. women will compete for quota spots again next June in Ogden, UT, in a special team competition for quota spots prior to the World Cup.
For his turn, number one World Ranked archer Brady Ellison (Glendale, AZ) proved impossible to stop. Qualifying number two this week, Ellison was pre-seeded in the 1/16, and began his day with a 6-2 win over Florian Floto (GER). In the 1/8, Ellison faced Juan Rene Serrano of Mexico, who was also the number one ranked archer at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Giving up only two set points, Ellison shot three 30's and a 27 to take a 6-2 win. In his final match of the day, Ellison met number forty two seed Baard Nesteng (NOR), and outscored his opponent 6-0 to earn his way to the semifinals. On Sunday, Ellison's first match will be against Woojin Kim (KOR), in a finals that will feature three Korean archers and Ellison.
For the compound women, Erika Anschutz (Dumas, TX), Jamie Van Natta (Toledo, OH) and Christie Colin (Ransomville, NY) were all pre-seeded into the 1/16. Anschutz, who qualified sixth earlier this week, once again hit the field determined to win, and was equally unstoppable, first winning her 1/16 match versus Dawn Groszko (CAN) with a 144-135 score. She then met Sarah Prieels (BEL), and took her 1/8 match as well, winning 141-138. In the quarterfinals, Anschutz shot her strongest score of the day, reaching a 147 in her meeting with top Italian archer Marcela Tonioli, and advancing to Saturday's semifinal matches.
In her first match, Colin met Anna Stanieczek (POL); Colin shot a 142 to her opponent's 141 to advance to the 1/8 round, where she met Jennifer Dy Chan (PHI). In this difficult match, Colin tied her opponent's score of 144, and tied her with a matching 10 in the tiebreaker. However, Chan's arrow was closest to the middle, and Chan was able to advance.
Van Natta began her day with a match versus Andrea Gales (GBR), whom she defeated with a 143-138 win. However, in the 1/8 round, Van Natta was unable to stop Maja Marcen (COL), who shot two points more than Van Natta, retiring the American archer.
On the men's side, number one qualifier Reo Wilde (Pocatello, ID) started with a 1/16 match against Marcelo Roriz (BRA). Coming very close to his World Record score shot two weeks ago, Wilde shot a 149 to Roriz's 140 to advance to the 1/8 round. In the 1/8, it was Seppie Cilliers (RSA) facing the defending World Champion. With a one point lead, Wilde took the match with a score of 146-145 to move to the quarterfinals. Shooting another one point victory, this time against Pierre Deloche (FRA), Wilde clinched his spot in the semifinal matches with a 147-146.
Team USA's Jesse Broadwater (Jennerstown, PA) began in the 1/16 with a match against Chris White (GBR). Shooting three points stronger, Broadwater took a 148-145 win to advance to a 1/8 meeting versus Jari Haavisto (FIN). With a perfect 150, just behind Wilde's World Record, Broadwater won the match to move to the quarterfinals. Facing Slavko Turskic of Slovenia, Broadwater stayed strong enough to shoot a solid 147 to Tursic's 142 for the win, guaranteeing Broadwater's spot in the semifinal matches.
Teammate Braden Gellenthien (Woodbridge, VA) shot strong scores in his 1/16 and 1/8 matches, posting victories against Alexander Dambaev (RUS) and Canada's Dietmar Trillus. However, it was a meeting with Christopher Perkins (CAN) in the quarterfinals that stopped him; though they tied with near-perfect scores of 149, Perkins' tiebreaking 10 was closer to the center than Gellenthien's, and the Canadian advanced.
Team USA is being supported by a full staff at this event, including National Head Coach KiSik Lee, USA Archery Resident Athlete Administrator/Assistant Coach Guy Krueger, Coach Michael Usherenko, Coach Mel Nichols, and Team Leader Cindy Bevilacqua. USA Archery thanks the U.S. Olympic Committee and the Easton Foundations for their support of the U.S. teams at this event.
According to World Archery, more than 600 archers from close to 90 countries are shooting for world titles, medals and Olympic berths at the World Archery Championships this week. For complete results from today's matches, visit http://www.archery.org. USA Archery will be tweeting results, quotes and other updates live throughout the finals this weekend; follow "usaarchery" on Twitter and "like" us on Facebook to join in the excitement of the World Archery Championships!
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