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January 24, 2011

U.S. Archers Take Three Gold Medals in Nimes

Twenty-six archers from the United States joined 1100 archers from 30 different countries in Nimes, France this past weekend, in search of gold medals at the European Indoor Tournament of Nimes, which also serves as the first stage of the Archery World Cup Indoor Challenge. Archers shot a qualification round consisting of two 30-arrow rounds at 18 meters, followed by an elimination round for the top 32 in each category, while remaining archers went on to participate in a secondary tournament.

Following the qualification round, the Korean women largely dominated their group, with Mi Jin Yun qualifying first with a 585. Yun was followed by Natalya Erdynieva (RUS), scoring 583, and Korean teammate Yu Mi Kim, shooting a 580. U.S. archers competing in this category included Kristin Braun (Chula Vista, CA) and Brandi Mantha (Princeton, NJ).   

On the men's side, it was the United States on top, with Olympian and World Cup Final Gold Medalist Brady Ellison (Chula Vista, CA) qualifying first with a near-perfect 595. Sebastian Rohrberg (GER) finished in the second position, scoring a 590; Michele Frangili (ITA) qualified third with the same score. U.S. National Champion Jake Kaminski (Chula Vista, CA) achieved a fourth-place ranking, shooting a 587. Other entries from the U.S. included Resident Athlete Nick Kale (Chula Vista, CA), Doug Denton (Stansbury, UT), George Tekmitchov (Salt Lake City, UT), and Mahesh Mantha (Princeton, NJ).

U.S. compound archers fared very well in the qualification round; for the women's group, Inge Van Caspel (NED) scored a 583 to qualify first; U.S. National Champion Jamie Van Natta (Toledo, OH) shot the same score to qualify in the second position. Rikki Bingham (GBR) ranked third, just a point behind with a 582.

For the men, Italy's Sergio Pagini achieved a top ranking with a 595; however, the Americans locked up 9 of the top 20 qualifying positions, with Braden Gellenthien (Woodbridge, VA) taking the second spot, shooting a 595; current World Champion Reo Wilde (Pocatello, ID) ranked third with his score of 594. Fellow Americans Dave Cousins (Standish, ME), Shane Wills, Ben Cleland (Swanton, OH), and Kevin Wilkey (Tooele, UT) qualified fourth through seventh, with a 594, 593, 592 and 591 respectively. 

Additionally, Darrin Christenberry, Jesse Broadwater (Jennerstown, PA) earned 12th and 13th place rankings with a 591 and 590, while Logan Wilde qualified 19th with a 589. Other U.S. archers in the compound men's category included George Ryals (Snellville, GA), Brandon Reyes (Madison Heights, VA), Jimmy Butts (Schenectady, NY), Rodger Willett (Gloucester, VA), Chris Deston (Glastonbury, CT) and Derek Phillips.

The United States also had two entries in the youth divisions, with Hunter Jackson (Waterford, MI) qualifying 2nd in the compound women junior group, shooting a 569, and Megan Mantha (Princeton, NJ) competing in the recurve women cadet category.

Notable U.S. finishes in the Secondary tournament included Brandon Reyes finishing second for the compound men, shooting a perfect 120 for his twelve-arrow score. Rodger Willett took fourth place in the same group, also with a 120, while Kristin Braun achieved the fifth position for the recurve women with her score of 112.

The American archers saw great success in the elimination rounds, in which the top 32 archers from each category compete in head-to-head matches utilizing the FITA set system. For the compound women, Van Natta was strong through the quarterfinals, where she was stopped by Gladys Willems (BEL), who earned 6 set points to Van Natta's 4.  Joanna Chesse (FRA) ultimately won the gold in this group with a 6-4 victory over number one ranked Van Caspel, while Willems took the bronze.

In the compound women's junior group, Jackson had a gold medal victory after a shutout win in the semifinals that propelled her to the gold medal match, in which she defeated Toja Cerne (SLO) for the gold medal, 7-3. Italy's Elisabetta Landi and Federica Zanotti competed for the bronze, though final results from this match are not yet available.  

For the compound men, the U.S. fared well into the 1/8 round, from which Gellenthien and Cleland advanced, as well as Logan Wilde, following his win of a close 6-4 match with brother Reo. In the quarterfinals, Wilde defeated Cleland to propel himself to the semis, 6-2, while Gellenthien won his match against Denmark's Johann Lindberg by a 7-1 margin. Ultimately, top world ranked shooter Gellenthien defeated Wilde in the semifinals to face Peter Elzinga (NED) in the gold medal match, which he took with a 6-2 victory, while Wilde and Ruben Bleyendaal (NED) were both awarded the bronze. 

Competition was fierce in the recurve men's category, with many of the world's top archers meeting one another in their quests for the medal matches. United States Archery Team member Kaminski was stopped in the 1/16 by Russia's Belikto Tsyrempilov, while U.S. teammate Ellison went on to win his matches with decisive victories in the 1/16, 1/8 and quarterfinal matches.

Ellison, who earned a number one world ranking earlier this year, faced Romain Giroulle (FRA) in the semifinals, and earned his berth to the gold medal match with a 6-2 win, while Giroulle went on to face Magnus Petersson (SWE) for the bronze. Despite two tied sets with Crispin Duenas (CAN), Ellison won two sets outright to clinch the gold medal, giving Duenas the silver; final results from the bronze medal match are not yet available. 

Archers finishing in the top 16 in Nimes and at the World Archery Festival in Las Vegas next month, will qualify for the Archery World Cup Indoor Challenge. Rules and details for the Indoor Challenge may be found by clicking here

Complete results from the European Indoor Tournament and video of the finals may be found at

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