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BERLIN - Excitement reigned at the fourth and final stage of the Hyundai Archery World Cup in Berlin, where American archers wrapped up head-to-head matchplay, deciding who will compete in this weekend's medal finals. Earlier this week, the U.S. clinched its spots in four team medal events, and today two Americans - Braden Gellenthien (Hudson, Massachusetts) and Steve Anderson (West Jordan, Utah) - also emerged as medal contenders for the individual finals.
There was major excitement for Team USA fans today, as the American compound men's squad got to work on the field with third round wins for all but one archer. Anderson took a win in his first match of the day with a victory over Evren Cagiran of Turkey, 148-144, advancing to a fourth-round matchup with Daniel Munoz of Colombia. Anderson clinched a decisive victory there, 148-143, and then shot his way through a quarterfinal win against Croatia's Mario Vavro, 149-143.
Gellenthien was also on fire today, clinching a third-round victory over Australia's Scott Brice, 145-139, before turning his attention to Viktor Orosz of Hungary, who Gellenthien bested with a near-perfect 149-145 win. Gellenthien remained consistent through the quarterfinals to clinch a 148-146 victory over India's Abhishek Verma.
Anderson and Gellenthien both advanced to the semifinals, where they were finally stopped by Demir Almaagacli (TUR) and Stephen Hansen (DEN), respectively. Fans will be treated to an all-American compound men's bronze medal match on Saturday, as Anderson and Gellenthien meet in a finals showdown. The compound men's team will also shoot for gold versus a strong squad from Denmark.
Reo Wilde (Pocatello, Idaho) surprised fans with an early exit following a one point loss to Ivan Markes of Croatia in the third round today. Kris Schaff (Billings, Montana) took a third-round win over Australia's Danie Oosthuizen, 148-144, but was stopped in the 1/8th round by Denmark's Hansen.
Both Anderson and Gellenthien also secured their spots for the World Cup Final in Rome later this year; World Archery announced the official roster of Rome 2017 qualifiers today.
This week's World Cup in Berlin is also a key training event for the American team bound for the World Championships in Mexico City later this year, and strong performances by the U.S. squad portend well for Team USA fans.
"I always think we're the best and probably most handsome," Anderson told World Archery about the team's chances against Denmark in the gold medal final this weekend. "They beat us earlier this year and we haven't been able to beat them this year, but it's always fun to shoot against them because we're all good friends. We do feel it's the pinnacle of the teams competing against each other." In reference to the team's chances at the World Championships, Anderson commented: "We have a good team…in the US we have so many talented shooters that no matter how we plug in we can be competitive with anybody. Feel good about it."
Paige Gore (Red Bluff, California) started her day with a win, besting Russia's Viktoria Balzhanova, 146-142. Gore continued her winning streak, advancing to the fourth round, where she stopped Laila Fevang Marzouk of Norway by a decisive five points. Gore was the sole U.S. compound woman into the quarterfinals and did not disappoint, tying Turkey's Yesim Bostan at 145-all, but was edged out in a shoot-off tiebreaker, finishing her individual competition in the fifth round.
Lexi Keller (Omro, Wisconsin) won a tiebreaker yesterday - in an unfortunate second-round pairing against teammate Jamie van Natta (Toledo, Ohio), and faced the same situation today, with a 145-all result against India's Jyothi Surekha Vennam, the 5th ranked archer. Vennam's arrow was closer to center, nudging Keller out of individual competition.
Cassidy Cox (Albuquerque, New Mexico) had a standout result against veteran Albina Loginova of Russia, with Cox advancing 146-141; the American next faced Sarah Sonnichsen of Denmark, and fell 141-150 in the 4th round of competition.
The American compound women will return to the stage Saturday, however, shooting for gold in the team final versus Great Britain; Gore and Gellenthien are slated to compete in the mixed team final also on Saturday, shooting against Mexico for gold.
Gore expressed her excitement about the team's preparation for the World Archery Championships in Mexico City later this year.
"I think we've been preparing for a long time. We have all shot with each other since we were young, so the dynamic is really good," Gore explained. "We spend a lot of time together and we always try to do our best. I think at this level everybody shoots so strong that none of [the matches] are easy. You know that you've got to work to win."
Two Americans remained in the recurve men's individual competition heading into today's third-round matchplay. Two-time Olympic medalist Jake Kaminski (Gainesville, Florida) shot his way through his first and second matches yesterday, but fell in today's 1/8 round to India's Sachin Gupta, who took a 6-0 win.
Brady Ellison (Globe, Arizona), the three-time Olympic medalist who qualified third at this World Cup, had a bye into the 1/16th round, where he took a 6-5 win over Tarundeep Rai of India. However, Ellison, a medal contender for this event, was stopped in a surprise loss to 15th seed Kim Jongho of Korea, 6-5.
Ellison's World Cup season is far from over, however. He recently earned his eighth consecutive World Cup Final berth - an unprecedented achievement for a recurve archer - and will compete in Rome later this year. Ellison, who medaled in six out of the last seven World Cup Final events, is a strong fan favorite for a podium finish in Rome.
Mackenzie Brown (Flint, Texas), Rio 2016 Olympian and U.S. number one, started her day with a third-round clean sweep versus Alexandra Longova (RUS). However, Brown wasn't able to best Korea's Kang Chae Young, who moved through to the quarterfinals with a 6-0 win over Brown, who was the sole remaining American recurve woman in the individual competition.
Brown, however, will return to the stage on Sunday, along with Rio 2016 teammate Ellison, for the mixed team bronze medal match versus Turkey.
Competition continues through the weekend with the compound finals on Saturday, and recurve finals on Sunday. 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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