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SHANGHAI, China - Bit late to the World Cup? Not a problem.
Braden Gellenthien (College Station, Texas) topped the qualifying round at the first stage of the 2015 Archery World Cup season, shooting a 713 to snag the number one spot.
Gellenthien boasts a seasoned and powerful compound men's squad just behind him: Reo Wilde (Pocatello, Idaho) and Steve Anderson (Salt Lake City, Utah) broke the top ten in 5th and 9th respectively. Reigning World Cup Final Champion, Bridger Deaton (Pella, Iowa) sits in 35th. Gellenthien, Wilde and Anderson easily secured the top spot over Denmark for team eliminations this Friday.
The compound men arrived in China late the night before shooting began, foregoing the practice day to shoot at the Western Classic Trail Shoot in Redding, California, a popular field archery competition, as a warm up. "I shot around 36 or 40 arrows on the practice field as fast as I could, just getting through the arrows and trying to wake my body up," Gellenthien told World Archery. "I was still a little slow at the start of the ranking round. I opened up with a seven but then I think shot eight 60s over the rest of the day. I found my shot."
Crystal Gauvin (Dayville, Connecticut) has big shoes to fill this season as the most experienced compound woman on the US team. Erika Jones (Grand Island, Nebraska) is set to have her first baby this summer and will not be competing. Gauvin, with just a year's international experience, made a big splash: she qualified 4th with a 649, just one point out of 3rd. Gauvin and Gellenthien have a solid shot at the mixed team gold with the top seed, while Angela Bradley (Herald, California) and Lexi Keller (Omro, Wisconsin) will shoot with Gauvin in this week's team competition. Easter Brock (Sandy, Utah) awaits individual eliminations later this week.
The US recurve teams proved experience is key as the more seasoned members took top honors and newcomers to the scene gained valuable competition experience. Two-time Olympian Brady Ellison (Globe, Arizona) finished qualifications in 5th, just behind all four recurve male archers from Korea. His 688 total put him just 5 points out of 2nd, in a very close race for the top seed. Ellison with teammates, Collin Klimitchek (Chula Vista, California) and Jake Kaminski (Gainesville, Florida) are ranked second going into team eliminations.
Five-time Olympian Khatuna Lorig (West Hollywood, California) was the top qualifier for the US women's recurve team, finishing in 10th on a very competitive field. Her teammates LaNola Pritchard (Chula Vista, California) and Ariel Gibilaro (Chula Vista, California), will compete alongside her in this week's team competition, giving fans a preview of the squad that will shoot for Olympic spots at the upcoming World Archery Championships. Together, Lorig and Ellison also earned the 3rd qualification spot for recurve mixed teams. Out of the team competition but still in the mix for individuals: Olympian Jacob Wukie (Freemont, Ohio) and Olympic hopeful Mackenzie Brown (Chula Vista, California).
Competition resumes tomorrow with individual eliminations. For complete results from today and live scores throughout the week, click here and visit USA Archery on Facebook and Twitter for photos and updates from the field.
Some information attributed to World Archery Communication.
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