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June 19, 2012

US Team Firing on All Cylinders at Ogden World Cup

Ogden, Utah - Despite very windy conditions in the early part of the morning, and a timing snafu that created a distraction for some, the members of the U.S. team at the Ogden World Cup succeeded in qualifying well enough to secure favorable brackets for team round match play later in the week.

Recurve men: A tricky wind that blew strong and changed direction consistently kept the recurve men on their toes this morning, as they started the day with chilly temperatures under clear skies in the shadow of the mountains around the Golden Spike Arena in Ogden.

Russia's Bato Tsynguev, Milad Teymoorlooei (IRI) and Hideki Kikuchi (JPN) held the top spots for most of the morning, but in the end, Malaysia's Khairul Mohamad climbed atop the qualifications to complete 72 arrows with a 668. In second with the same score was Tsynguev, followed by Teymoorlooei with 666.

After a tough start which he attributed to the wind, USA's Brady Ellison managed to finish in fourth with a 662, high enough to be byed into the 1/16 for individual match play. Jacob Wukie (OH) was the second highest U.S. qualifier, hitting a 654, while Olympic Team alternate Joe Fanchin shot a 641 for thirty-ninth. Jake Kaminski (NY) ended his day in the fifty seventh spot with his score of 633.

For this competition, which will be treated as an Olympic training event by the U.S., the athletes nominated to the U.S. Olympic Team for Archery will shoot together, with Fanchin serving as alternate. Thanks to strong shooting, they have qualified first in the team event, with Malaysia and Mexico just behind them.

Recurve women: The newly-nominated U.S. Olympic Team of Miranda Leek (IA), Khatuna Lorig (CA), Jennifer Nichols (WY) and Team Alternate Heather Koehl (WI) have their work cut out for them this week: in addition to competing in individual, mixed team and team events in the World Cup, they must also reach a top-three finish in the Final Olympic Qualification Tournament later this week in order to qualify a full team for London. Leek is already qualified for the Olympic Games.

In today's qualifications, it was Ksenia Perova (RUS) who was locked in a battle with Mariana Avitia (MEX) and reigning World Champion Denisse Van Lamoen (CHI) for first position. Ultimately, Perova was able to take first, shooting a 666, while Avitia and Van Lamoen were just behind with scores of 663 and 662, respectively.

For the U.S. women, Lorig and Nichols both shot well enough to finish top-ten; both hit a 650, with Nichols shooting up the board throughout qualifications to earn the ninth spot just behind Lorig. Koehl, having one of her strongest World Cup qualification scores yet, hit a 632 to qualify twenty ninth, while Leek, shooting a 624, finished her day in forty-second. However, the team was able to secure a fourth place qualification, behind Mexico, Russia and Japan. Brackets for the Final Olympic Qualification Tournament were not yet available at posting time; however, for the recurve mixed team event, the U.S. has qualified third, behind Russia and Mexico.

Compound women: The U.S. women's compound team found success in the qualification round, with Erika Anschutz (NE) leading the pack with a category-winning score of 697 despite breezy conditions that continued throughout the afternoon. As the temperatures heated up, so did the competition, with Mexico's Linda Ochoa, Jamie Van Natta (OH) and Albina Loginova (RUS) all taking a shot at the sought-after top three positions.

Ultimately, it was Ochoa and Loginova who would join Anschutz on top, with their own scores of 690. Van Natta was just edged out of the top five, shooting a 685 for sixth, while Christie Colin posted a 684 to finish her day in eighth. World Cup medalist Diane Watson (FL) shot a 671 to finish in eighteenth.

Together, the women have qualified atop the team qualifications, ahead of Italy and Russia. As of now, it's a very tight race for berths to the World Cup Final in Tokyo later this season. Watch for the women of Team USA to bring their A-games to the field during eliminations in an effort to punch their tickets to Japan.

Compound men: Braden Gellenthien (VA), on top of his game today, struggled with Canada's Chris Perkins as well as teammate Reo Wilde (ID) for the number one ranking. Pierre Deloche (FRA) also presented a challenge, but ultimately it was World Champion Perkins who claimed the top spot with a strong 707. Gellenthien, for his part, was able to hit a 705 for second, while Deloche shot the same score for third.

Team USA's Wilde, who has already qualified for the World Cup Final, was able to take the fourth spot with his 704, while Rodger Willett, Jr. (VA) and Dave Cousins (ME) finished twelfth and fifteenth, shooting 698 and 697. Together, the team shot well enough to top the team qualifications; El Salvador and Canada took second and third.

The U.S. compound teams posted high enough scores throughout to also qualify first for the mixed team event; they will be potentially facing off against Mexico and Canada, the second and third-ranked teams, if they are able to advance in the brackets.

Mixed teams: The compound mixed team of Anschutz and Gellenthien were byed into the quarterfinals, where they faced a difficult opponent in the team from the Netherlands. The U.S. tied the first end at 38-all, but was down one point in the second end. The U.S. team came back to tie the score in the end, but was unable to edge out their opponents, who took the match in a shootoff.

The recurve mixed team of Ellison and Nichols successfully shot their way through to the semifinals, where they met the German team for a berth to the gold medal match. Though the team opened up with a deficit, and continued the deficit through the second end, they came back strong enough in the third end to take a three point lead. Maintaining the upper hand, Nichols and Ellison won the match and secured their spot in the gold medal final later this week.

Tomorrow's events kick off with individual eliminations beginning with practice at 9:00 a.m. Click here for complete information on the event, including schedule, a link to full results and more.

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