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TORONTO, Canada - The medal wins today at the Pan American Games were a huge deal. This prestigious, multi-sport, quadrennial event is one of the highest level events the US recurve archers shoot. With World Championships and the chance to qualify for Olympic quota slots just around the corner, strong team round competition was imperative today.
Five-time Olympian Khatuna Lorig (West Hollywood, California) joined with teammates, twenty-year old Resident Athletes Ariel Gibilaro (North Branford, Connecticut) and LaNola Pritchard (Lehi, Utah) and shot high scores in qualification to earn a second place seed. This meant they had a bye through the 1/8th elimination and went right into the quarterfinals.
After a 5-3 win over Cuba, the women faced a tough team from Colombia. "I think we did well today. I had some specific goals for the team and we accomplished most of them. I felt our semi final match was really good, but Colombia shot very well even though we averaged a 55. In preparation for Denmark we just have a few things we need to work on for each archer and keep our focus on the process and each other," commented Women's Head Coach Guy Krueger.
Coming into the bronze match with high scores from the semis, Gibilaro commented: "In the match I just focused on keeping strong shots, keeping my rhythm and staying focused on my team." The team's focus proved strong as the match went to a 4-4 tie a shoot off. With three strong shots, the US women claimed the bronze win.
The US men's team of two-time Olympian Brady Ellison (Globe, Arizona), Zach Garrett (Wellington, Missouri), and Collin Klimitchek (Victoria, Texas) were seeded first from qualification, where they set an event record. Their placement in the rankings guaranteed them a bye into the semifinals where they dominated a 6-0 shut out match against Brazil.
In the gold medal match the US men posted strong scores, but Mexico managed to outshoot them by a small margin each set. With two consecutive sets of 58 out of a possible 60, followed by a 56, Mexico took the win and the US men claimed silver. "We shot good they shot better. We made a good step towards Copenhagen today," commented Ellison.
With two major podium finishes, Team USA is looking very strong for the upcoming World Archery Championships. Gibilaro added: "For Denmark I want to keep working on my timing consistency under pressure."
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