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November 03, 2023

Opportunity knocks for the USA with Pan Am medals and an Olympic ticket all within reach

Photos courtesy of PanAm Sports

SANTIAGO, Chile – Both paths to securing a quota slot for the men at next year’s Olympic Games remain clear after the USA’s sensational streak continued at the Pan American Games.

Five USA archers won through to their respective semifinals on Friday, including both Brady Ellison and Jackson Mirich in the recurve men. A win for either in their semifinal on Sunday would secure a quota slot for the USA for the Paris Games in 2024.

The other way that a quota slot can be guaranteed is if the mixed team of Ellison and Casey Kaufhold go on to win gold in the recurve mixed team. They will compete for gold after the pair put paid to Cuba in their quarterfinal contest 6-2, before defeating Colombia 5-3, having been 3-1 down. Brazil awaits in Sunday’s final.

Mirich was commanding in his 6-0 quarterfinal success over Javier Alejandro Vega Valle (CUB), the man who took down world number one Marcus D’Almeida in the 1/8 round. Ellison led 4-0 against Carlos Rojas (MEX) but needed to draw on all of his mental reserves to win a one arrow shootoff for a 6-5 victory. Jack Williams was unable to join Mirich and Ellison in the last four as he went down 6-2 to local favorite Ricardo Soto (CHI).

Soto is the semifinal opponent for Mirich, with Ellison up against Matias Grande (MEX), meaning an all-USA gold medal match remains a possibility.

Kaufhold claimed her place in the recurve women’s semifinals after overcoming Virginie Chenier (CAN) 6-2, but there were earlier defeats for Jennifer Mucino-Fernandez and Catalina GNoriega. Mucino-Fernandez lost 7-3 to top seed Alejandra Valencia (MEX), while GNoriega went out 6-2 to Ana Maria Rendon (COL).

Alexis Ruiz and Sawyer Sullivan will continue their push for individual medals in the compound division after victories on Friday morning. Ruiz edged Paola Ramirez (PUR) 148-147 in the compound women, before Sullivan defeated Alejandro Patricio Martin Arriagada (CHI) 147-143.

Ruiz, the second seed, faces Alejandra Usquiano (COL) in the second semifinal on Saturday. The winner will meet world number two Sara Lopez (COL) or Dafne Quintero (MEX) in the gold medal match. Sawyer, meanwhile, tackles Jagdeep Singh Mejia (COL) in his semifinal. Roberto Hernandez (ESA) or Jean Pizarro (PUR) await the winner.

There was no such success for Kris Schaff or Olivia Dean. Schaff – the top seed – lost out to Pizarro 147-146. Dean, aged just 16, was defeated 145-142 by Quintero.

Schaff, though, is into the gold medal match in the compound mixed team after he and Ruiz combined to beat Chile 157-151 in their quarterfinal match and followed that with a 158-156 triumph over Brazil. They will face Colombia on Saturday in one of many gold medal matches involving the USA.

The second match of the day will be the compound women’s gold medal affair, with the USA pairing of Ruiz and Dean facing Colombia. That is followed soon after with the compound men’s gold medal match, when Schaff and Sullivan combine to take on El Salvador.

Next up are the recurve team medal matches. The USA is going for gold in both the men’s and women’s, and Mexico are the opponents in both.

The afternoon session shifts to individual compound competition where Ruiz and Sullivan will be hoping to come through their semifinal matches for the chance to another shot at gold.

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