MARRAKESH, Morocco – Following strong postings in qualification at the Indoor World Cup season opener, USA archers will bring home five medals from exciting head to head competition.
In the hotly contested compound men's bracket, the 2017 World Archery Championships bronze medalist Braden Gellenthien (Hudson, Massachusetts) and World Archery Youth Championships silver medalist Jesse Clayton (Powell Butte, Oregon) went head to head for gold. Clayton climbed the brackets from a 16th place seed, upsetting top ranked archer Stephan Hansen of Denmark with a perfect 150, followed by No. 9 Polidori of Italy in the quarterfinals 146-144 and USA's Reo Wilde (Pocatello, Idaho) in the semifinals 148-146.
Clayton previewed the match on social media: "Braden and I will be matching up this afternoon. We have worked hard for this, countless hours… Going against one of your best friends and coach seems funny, but apparently we have the right training system and mental game figured out."
Clayton opened up one with a 30-29 advantage. Then, Gellenthien closed the gap to a 59-59 tie with a perfect 30 of his own. Each putting another perfect 30 down range, the score remained tied, but then Clayton scored three straight 9s, giving Gellenthien the lead 118-116 as he held steady in the gold. Refusing to open the door, Gellenthien posted another 30 for a 148-146 victory.
Wilde went on to face the Netherlands' Mike Schloesser for bronze. Both archers were clean over the first four ends of the match for an impressive 120-120 matchup, but as one arrow got out of the 10-ring for Wilde in the last end, Schloesser took the 150-149 win.
After taking the top qualification spot for the compound women yesterday, Paige Pearce Gore (Red Bluff, California) had a tough USA-filled bracket, shooting against Christine Harrelson (Chapel Hill, North Carolina) in the quarterfinals and Cassidy Cox (Albuquerque, New Mexico) in the semifinals. Gore claimed victories with 145-141 and 148-146 to advance to the gold final against Great Britain's Sarah Prieels.
Gore opened with a 30 to Prieels' 28. They matched scores over the next six arrows for Gore to keep her two-point advantage 89-97 before Prieels swung the score to a tie in the next end 117-117. With three arrows to go, both scored perfect 30s to force a shoot-off. With a 10 to Gore's 9, Prieels took the win and Gore finished with silver.
Cox, who fell to Gore in the semifinals, earned a shot at bronze against Tanja Jensen of Denmark. The two opened with matching 28s, and matched over the next six arrows for an 86-all tie. Jensen picked up two points in the fourth end and while Cox took one back in the final three arrows, Jensen took the win 143-142.
Sole senior recurve entrant in the competition, Matt Requa (Houston, Texas) climbed from a 6th place seed yesterday to upset 3rd ranked Plihon of France 4-6 in straight sets of 29 before falling 6-2 Great Britain's Huston in the semifinals to shoot for bronze. Facing Italy's Mandia, the two alternated with perfect 30s to open 2-2. Mandia took the next two sets with 29s to Requa's 28s and brought the match to a 6-2 close.
In the junior competition, recurve archer Madison Devencenzi (Temecula, California), in her world cup debut, took a strong 6-2 win in the quarterfinals over France's Raymond. After a 6-2 fall in the semifinals, Devencenzi came back strong in the bronze final against Morrocco's Elbennay. She opened up 2-0, but as both archers kept all arrows in the gold over the next two sets, they went back and forth to bring the score 4-2 in Devencenzi's favor. Elbennay took the next set for a 4-4 tie, but Devencenzi's solid 28 clinched the final win and the bronze.
Devencenzi commented: "My experience here has been awesome! I made friends from around the world. This was my first World Cup and I have been training for this specific tournament like crazy. I put myself in situations back home that would replicate what it would be like to shoot in this World Cup, so when I got here I could trust that what I did back home would work."
Devencenzi, age 16, is shooting up to the junior division and said that motivated her to train even harder. She added: "I placed third in qualification, but I knew I could shoot better. I came to eliminations the next day and put out confident shots I was proud of, and it worked out in my favor by winning bronze. It's pretty cool being able to witness all my hard work pay off, make new friends, and to just be here and grow as an archer."
Compound archer Caroline McCracken (Midlothian, Virginia) qualified 2nd in the junior division yesterday with a 570. In the three-person bracket, her semifinal match guaranteed bronze as she fell 137-146 to 3rd seed Amani of Belgium.
Complete results from the competition are available at www.worldarchery.org
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Photo: World Archery