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MEDELLIN, Colombia - Individual elimination matches at the 2018 Pan American Championships and Para Pan American Championships today saw USA archers continue to climb the brackets and podiums for top finishes.
Olympian Mackenzie Brown was pre-seeded into the 1/16th following a 3rd place qualification score. After a 6-0 shutout in the first round, she then had to face teammate after teammate - outscoring Erin Mickelberry in the 1/8th 7-3, Khatuna Lorig 6-4 in the quarterfinals, and LaNola Shepherd 6-0 in the semifinals to earn a shot at gold this Sunday. Brown will also shoot for team gold with Lorig and Shepherd, and mixed team gold with Brady Ellison.
"I feel like I made really strong shots and my first and last matches were probably the strongest of the whole day as far as confidence and smooth shots," commented Brown. "I'm really excited going into our finals day and what this means for our women's team. Khatuna, LaNola and I are a really strong team. We communicate really well and have a lot of fun shooting together. We've shot together to so many times and I think to be able to go to a stage like this and perform is such an honor; I think it's a good step in right direction for World Championships next year and even more so with the mixed team. Brady and I going to the gold medal match is really exciting to get to compete and have fun and really enjoy this level of competition."
Shepherd also earned a shot at bronze against Mexico's Vazquez. Shepherd opened with the 2-0 lead, but Vazquez brought it to a 2-2 tie with a strong second set. Shepherd turned it on and crushed the last two sets to take the 6-2 win and her first individual international medal. "It means a lot to me to win my first individual international medal," commented Shepherd. "I've been struggling the past couple years, so to come here and show myself that I can still shoot and compete was really nice. There's still hope no matter how down you think you are."
In the compound men's quarterfinal, there was one U.S. athlete in each match - looking like a strong possibility to see a full USA podium sweep. But, top seed Matt Sullivan fell 146-149 to Colombia's Cardona, and 6th seed Reo Wilde fell to No. 3 Hidalgo of Mexico 145-147. Kris Schaff, who posted a 150 and 149 in his first two matches waivered a bit with a 143 to Hidalgo's 146 in the semifinal, but earned him a shot at bronze. Home-nation favorite Cardona refused to give up any points, cleaning a perfect 90 over the first 9 arrows to Schaff's 88. While Schaff picked up a point in the 4th end, Cardona took the win 148-146.
Meanwhile, USA's Bridger Deaton, who qualified 13th climbed the brackets, upsetting 4th seed Del Cid of Guatemala in the 1/8th in a shoot off win with a perfect X. A 147-145 win over 5th seed Hernandez of Spain, and then another 10 on a shoot off win in the semifinals with Cardona sent Deaton straight to the gold final after an impressive run.
Deaton's last big international podium finish was at the 2017 World Cup Salt Lake. On this shot at gold, Deaton shared: "It feels really good to be in a finals match on the international circuit again. Every match today came down to the last end, with a couple shoot offs thrown in there as well. Knowing I shot what I needed to when I needed to is a huge confidence boost going into Sunday. Hopefully I can continue this through finals and into the Buckeye Classic at home next week."
Jack Williams also had an incredible run today in some close matches. A 7-1 victory over teammate Matt Requa in the 1/8th, where top seed Brady Ellison also fell 6-4 to Guatemala's 17th seed Flossbach, pushed Williams into the quarterfinals. Both Williams' next two matches came down to one arrow shoot offs. In the semifinals against Mexico's Boardman, Williams brought a 5-1 deficit back to a 5-5 tie, but an 8 sent him to the bronze medal match against Mexico's Alvarez Murillo. The match also went 5 sets with both archers shooting strong, but a 29 and two perfect 30s solidly sealed Williams' fate and the bronze victory for his first individual international medal.
USA's 5th and 7th compound women's qualifiers, Paige Pearce and Jamie Van Natta made a strong run, but Linda Ochoa Anderson's perfect 150 in the quarterfinals outscored Pearce, and a 146-143 decision in the same match stopped Van Natta from advancing.
The U.S. para recurve open men swept the podium in qualification and cleaned easy match wins through to the semifinals. Top seed Timothy Palumbo sailed through a 6-2 win over Mexico's Molina to shoot for gold while 2nd and 3rd ranked Kevin Mather and Michael Lukow went head to head. After splitting the first two sets, Mather pulled ahead to take the win 6-2. Lukow then smoked an easy 6-0 win over Molina to clinch the bronze - guaranteeing another all USA podium.
The U.S. para compound open men, despite qualifying 1st, 2nd 4th and 6th, ended up as the final four in the semifinals, also guaranteeing a full podium sweep. Richard Burkett, who trimmed his beard during yesterday's competition to improve his clearance and scores, outshot top seed Ben Thompson in the semis 144-142. Lance Thornton also upset Paralympic Champion Andre Shelby 143-141 to shoot against Burkett for gold. In the bronze final, Shelby opened with a small lead, but the two were tied by the half way mark - 85-85. With a 29 to Shelby's 27, Thompson pulled ahead and then locked up the win 142-140.
Teresa Wallace, USA's 3rd ranked para compound open woman shot her way to the bronze final against Canada's Van Nest. Van Nest's 140 to Wallace's 130 took the win, but Wallace will compete again in the compound master women's bracket tomorrow. 2nd seed W1 archer Lia Coryell took a semifinal loss to Brazil's Santana Franco 123-101 to finish with the bronze.
Recurve master archer Alexander Bernard Wong qualified 2nd and took a 6-2 semifinal win to shoot for gold against Colombia's Amaya Polanco. Amaya Polanco took the first set and split the second with Wong, but then picked up scores and took the win, leaving Wong with the silver. Compound junior Amber Arbegast was also the U.S.'s sole entrant in her division and the 2nd place qualifier. A 139-132 semifinal win sent her to the gold final against Spain's Corado but a rough second set led to the final 147-137 tally and Arbegast's silver finish.
Competition resumes tomorrow with elimination matches for the recurve juniors and cadets and compound masters. Complete results from the competition are available here. Follow USA Archery on Facebook, Twitterand Instagram for more from the event.
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