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November 05, 2023

Mission accomplished as USA departs Pan Am Games with 10 medals and an Olympic quota slot

SANTIAGO, Chile – A quota slot for the men at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris was landed on Sunday, on the final day of archery competition at the Pan American Games, as were more medals, capping off an incredible event for Team USA.

There were two ways of securing the one slot. By either winning the recurve mixed team event or managing a top two individual men’s finish. Both were achieved. First, the recurve mixed team of Brady Ellison and Casey Kaufhold defeated Brazil to win gold.

Kaufhold made sure of a first Olympic quota slot for the United States in August when finishing fourth at the World Archery Championships in Berlin. She was then alongside Ellison to help the men claim their slot.

Kaufhold commented, “I felt pretty calm during the mixed team gold medal final. I started off really well, had one goofy shot but other than that Brady and I shot really well together.

“We weren’t necessarily thinking about it (quota slot) while we were up there. We were just focusing on making good shots and having a fun time, and the outcome was there.”

With the quota slot guaranteed, Jackson Mirich won through his semifinal with victory over Ricardo Soto (CHI). He made sure of a second gold of the day for the USA in defeating Matias Grande (MEX).

“This is probably one of the highest things I’ve achieved so far,” admitted Mirich. “And I’m pretty thankful for it.”

In a back-and-forth encounter, with points split after the first two ends, Mirich took a 4-2 advantage after three. Grande dragged it back to 4-4 before Mirich fired a perfect score in the fifth end for a wonderful win!

“I had three points up on him going into the last arrow,” Mirich added. “All I needed to do was put an arrow in the eight ring.

“I guess I don’t show it – being super happy – but I was really happy that I won.”

Earlier, Ellison was beaten 6-4 by Grande in the semifinal, and then succumbed to Soto in the bronze medal match by the same score.

Kaufhold departs Santiago with two gold medals and a bronze. Having won recurve women team gold on Saturday – one of seven medals won on the day – the 19-year-old added individual bronze to her recurve mixed team gold on Sunday morning.

In all, the USA will depart Chile with 10 medals, having won seven of those on Saturday, of which three were enjoyed by Alexis Ruiz.

“I think the team is feeling really good about how we performed,” said Kaufhold. “We had a lot medals – compound and recurve – individual, teams, mixed teams so everybody who competed after qualifications is coming home with a medal so it’s awesome. We’re all feeling really happy. Great day. Great week.”

The mission heading to Santiago was to win medals while also making sure of that Olympic quota slot for the men. Mission accomplished.

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