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November 19, 2023

Awesome USA sets three Games records on a fantastic first day in Santiago

SANTIAGO, Chile – Day one of archery competition at the Para Pan American Games was a record-breaking one, with the USA setting three Games records during qualification.

Among those setting new heights were birthday boy KJ Polish in the compound men open, as well as Tracy Otto and Jason Tabansky in the W1 women and men respectively.

Polish came into the Games after a career-best season and celebrated his birthday in style with an incredible 699 total, 12 points better than the previous record. The 41-year-old has a bye to the quarterfinals, where he will face the winner from Edixon Parada (VEN) and Federico Paolorossi (ARG).

Otto (pictured with Polish) fired 556 in the W1 women open, and will meet Albina Torres (ARG) or Mariela Lopez (CHI) in the gold medal match. Tabansky’s leading score of 640 means a semifinal meeting with teammate Lucas Herro.

Polish is also the top seed in the compound open mixed team, alongside Wendy Gardner. The pair face Mexico or Brazil in the last four. Gardner finished fifth in the individual qualification, with Teresa Wallace eighth.

Gardner has a bye to the quarterfinals, where fourth seed Diana Gonzabay (ECU) awaits. Wallace begins her elimination matches at the 1/8 round against Maleny Martinez (PER).

Eric Bennett and Candice Caesar are third seeds in the recurve open mixed team event. They tackle Argentina in the quarterfinals. Bennett was second in the individual competition, behind Samuel Molina of Mexico, who also set a new Games record. Caesar was fourth in the recurve women open, one place ahead of Allison Brown.

In the individual competition, veteran archer Bennett has a bye to the quarterfinals, where he will play either Alex Capo (CUB) or Cristian Aguirre (CHI). Caesar faces Brown in the quarterfinals, guaranteeing a US presence in the last four.

As well Para Pan Am medals on offer, the USA is also chasing quota slots for next year’s Paralympic Games in Paris. They already have three quota slots, with one in recurve open men and two in compound open men.

Each country can win a maximum of two quota places in each category for the 2024 Paralympic Games, so over the coming days, the USA can earn a maximum of one recurve open men, one W1 men, one W1 women, two compound women and two recurve women spots. And after a fantastic first day in Santiago, they appear well set.

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