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CORTINA, Italy - Competition heated up at the World Archery Field Championships as individual medal contenders were decided this morning.
In the individual matches, seniors Paige Pearce, Brady Ellison and Steve Anderson, and junior Connor Sears were pre-seeded into the semifinals today after top two qualification rounds in their respective divisions.
After qualification, Anderson told World Archery: "It's a huge boon, mostly because the unmarked round didn't matter before. To have qualification and especially the unmarked round - which I think is the pinnacle of archery and should be all we do here - to have that matter, it's nice."
However, Anderson dropped a few points in the semifinal match to Austria's Wiener to finish 66-69 and head to the bronze final where he will face the other automatic semifinal qualifier, Croatia's Domagoj Buden tomorrow.
For Ellison, the same happened - both top seeds fell in the semis, so Ellison will go head to head with France's Valladont for bronze. Ellison's semifinal match against home-nation's Massimiliano Mandia; down three points after two targets, Ellison made a strong comeback, but finished down just one point 65-64, with both archers scoring above the other match's 60-58 decision.
The compound women saw top seeds Pearce and Slovenia's Ellison win their semifinal matches, both scoring 61s on their matches, to advance to what will be an exciting final matchup.
Pearce disagreed with Anderson's earlier sentiment, a pre-seed into the semifinals was definitely nice, but it came with a whole set of challenges: "There were a lot of upsets today in the semifinals where the first or second seeded archers came in. Myself included, you're more nervous your first match with a fresh start, where other competitors were a few matches deep already and nerves were more or less settled. So, while it was nice to come in at the semis, it was also really hard to come in against someone who has been competing in matches for two days already, yesterday and this morning."
On her first few arrows, Pearce commented: "I literally choked on my first target at a 20-yard bunny, because I was just super nervous, where she [Franchini] had shot yesterday, just shot a match this morning, and walked in calm, confident and relaxed where I was like 'here goes nothing.'" On now going for gold, she added: "I've only ever done one of these before back in 2012 and finished 2nd there so I told myself, coming back 6 years later I wanted redemption, so I'm here to get it."
For the barebow seniors, 3rd seed John Demmer III fell in his pool match final 78-79 while 6th seed Fawn Girard won hers 78-73 and then took a semifinal win over top ranked home-nation archer, Noziglia 55-52 to shoot for gold tomorrow.
4th and 5th barebow junior women's qualifiers Laura Hughes and Abigail Weir also earned slots in the semifinals, where Hughes took a big 39-35 win over the top seed to shoot for gold. A 32-38 decision for Weir will have her shoot for bronze.
Recapping the competition, Hughes shared: "I've had a lot of fun. The first day I shot really well. I practice unmarked a lot and it was fun. Yesterday I didn't shoot quite as well and then today was super nerve wracking and it was just great. I like meeting all the people from different countries and seeing that we share common interests. We also have a really good team atmosphere - we've been going out for gelato after shooting every day and following each other around cheering really loudly when anyone is shooting, it's great!"
The compound junior women were also on fire all week, but especially turning it on in match-play. Cassidy Cox and Savannah Vanderweir posted the highest scores on the field in pool finals by wide margins to advance to the semifinals. Cox took a 68-65 win in the semifinals to earn a shot at gold, while Vanderweir will shoot for bronze. Compound junior men's Sears also rode a 2nd place qualification to the semifinals, where he won a shoot off to clinch a spot in the gold final.
Competition continues this afternoon with team medal matches. Complete results from the competition can be found here. Follow USA Archery on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more from the event.
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