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November 20, 2023

In the USA's push for Para Pan Am medals, Bennett secures a quota slot for the Paralympic Games

SANTIAGO, Chile – It may have been a different day at the Para Pan American Games but we witnessed the same sensational shooting from the USA archers.

The highlight on Monday was arguably Eric Bennett winning two elimination matches in the recurve open men to set up a gold medal meeting with top seed Samuel Molina (MEX). And in reaching the gold medal match on Wednesday, high school physics teacher Bennett also claimed a quota slot for the 2024 Paralympic Games in Paris.

The USA now has four quota slots for the 2024 Games, with two in recurve open men and two in compound open men. Each country can win a maximum of two quota places in each category.

Bennett will not be the only USA archer going for gold on Wednesday. KJ Polish set his second Games record in reaching the final of the compound open men. His score of 699 on Sunday was a new best for qualification rounds. He followed that with a new 15 arrow match record of 148 in his quarterfinal win over Edixon Parada (VEN). The previous Para Pan Am Games best was 144. Polish faces third seed Diego Quesada (CRC) in the gold medal match. Queseda came through one-arrow shootoffs in both of his elimination matches on Monday.

Jason Tabansky cemented his spot in the gold medal match of the W1 open men, against Eugenio Franco (BRA), outscoring teammate Lucas Herro 132-123 in their semifinal matchup.

Also, Tracy Otto now knows her opponent in Wednesday’s final of the W1 open women. She tackles Mariela Lopez (CHI).

The USA will also have three archers vying for bronze when individual competition resumes on Wednesday. Wendy Gardner meets Yasneide Penaranda (COL) in the compound open women, Candice Caesar faced Karen Rocha (MEX) in the recurve open women and Herro takes on Victor Saiz (CHI) in the W1 open men.

Team competition takes center stage on Tuesday. Bennett and Caesar join forces to take on Argentina in the quarterfinals of the recurve open mixed team event. In the compound open mixed team, Polish and Gardner have a bye to the semifinals, where they await either Brazil or Mexico.

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