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ROSARIO, Argentina - The World Archery Youth Championships came to a close today with the individual compound finals and all recurve finals. In addition to yesterday's compound cadet men's team gold, and the cadet women's team and junior mixed team silvers, Team USA had four shots at three gold medals in the compound individual finals, and the recurve cadet men's team was the sole recurve contingent to make the medal matches.
The recurve cadet men's team, led by Jack Williams (Irvine, California) and teammates Andrew Park (Marana, Arizona) and Adam Heidt (Springfield, Georgia), overcame a 4th place seed to earn the U.S. a shot at a recurve world title. Going head to head with the 3rd ranked team from Chinese Taipei, a strong 54 gave the fist-bumping U.S. team a 2-0 advantage over Taipei's opening 50. Holding steady, a perfect 30 in the front half and a 29 in the next three arrows gave the U.S. a decisive 4-0 lead as Taipei managed just 54 points in response. The Chinese Taipei team made a comeback, opening the third set with a perfect 30 and then put the set win out of U.S. reach with a 58 to USA's 55 to bring the score to 4-2.
To open the fourth set, Taipei posted a 27, which USA countered with a 24. As Taipei finished the set with another 27 points, the pressure was on, and the U.S. team needed a perfect score to tie. Unable to keep all three in the 10 ring, the match went to a 4-4 tie for a shoot off. Both opened with 9s, then USA posted a 10 to Taipei's 9. Another 10 clinched the USA win and the world title!
In an individual rematch of the women who shot for mixed team gold yesterday, USA's Alexis Ruiz (Glendale, Arizona) faced Great Britain's Sarah Moon for the compound junior women's title. As wind continued to play a factor, both archers managed to find gold and scored 28s, and Ruiz held strong with a 29 to follow, while Moon scored a 27 to give Ruiz the advantage by 2. Smiling between ends, Ruiz remained calm and composed on the line, putting another 28 points down range to pick up another two points to her lead, 85-81.
A perfect 30 for Ruiz grew her lead again, and then after keeping all 15 arrows in the gold, Ruiz took a strong win 144-139 to take the World Champion title!
Then in an all USA final, Jesse Clayton (Powell Butte, Orgeon) and teammate Curtis Broadnax (Social Circle, Georgia) went head to head for the compound junior men's world title. Keeping it exciting for the crowd, both opened with 29s. Broadnax then threw a perfect 30 to take the lead as the top seeded archer scored a 27. Still clean over the next three arrows, Broadnax increased his lead to 89-84 with six arrows to go. To close the match, Broadnax picked up another four points for a 146-137 total to take the gold and World Champion title while Clayton added a silver to his mixed team silver from yesterday and his and Broadnax's team bronze earlier in the week.
Compound cadet Ethan Merrill (Manchester, New Hampshire), ranked 3rd in qualification, took strong wins throughout the individual competition and with a gold win on this stage in yesterday's team rounds, he opened today's final against Puerto Rico's Alvarado Fernandez confident. The two split the first end with 26s, but in the second end, Alvarado Fernandez opened the door with a 7, and Merrill took the lead 54-52.
With a perfect 30 in the next three arrows, Merrill increased his lead another two points to 84-80. Then, a few arrows went high, but Merrill retained the advantage by a point and with three arrows to go, both shot 9s, followed by a 10 for Alvarado Fernandez and a 9 for Merrill. With the score now tied, both shot 9s again to force a shoot off at 137-all.
Both shot solid 10s down range and the judges had to pull out calipers to determine which was closest to the center. Alvarado Fernandez was declared the winner by millimeters and Merrill was awarded the silver to complete his full medal set - team gold, individual silver and mixed team bronze in his World Championship debut.
Photo: Gary Yamaguchi
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