Gellenthien seals top USA qualifying effort

Braden Gellenthien medalled three times on the Archery World Cup circuit in 2013, including a win in Shanghai and a second-place finish at the Final in Paris.

In 2014, times were tough.

Though he picked up team and mixed team podium finishes, Braden was held to a clean sheet throughout individual competition.

“I’ve had terrible target panic with my hook,” Braden explained. Since the worlds in Copenhagen, the 29-year-old USA athlete, who’s been shooting internationally since 2002, has made some serious changes to his set-up.

“I added a lot of mass weight to my bow and changed from a back tension to a thumb release. It may be different for other people but I’m able to put the pin where it needs to be and execute a clean shot.”

He admitted the week between Copenhagen and Wroclaw was frantic, and involved shooting 1000s of arrows and many, many hours to settle the changes.

The result: “I’m a lot more comfortable now.”

That comfort showed during his ranking round. He started solidly, then found a sweet spot during the middle of the round where, over the course of 36 arrows, he only put two out of the middle. That’s the pace required to equal the current world record – and though Braden would finish shy of that high mark, his 708 out of 720 points would be enough to take the top compound men’s seed for the Archery World Cup stage in Poland.

“That was my best qualification since Shanghai,” said Braden, pointing out his second half was “livelier” and last end could have used improvement, before providing some choice words on his commitment to getting comfortable and back on top form.

“I love wearing the red, white and blue on my shirt. Archery’s gone from a passion to a career. It’s who I am, not something that I just do,” Braden said.

Two other USA compound men received top-eight byes: Bridger Deaton and Reo Wilde collected third and sixth seeds, while Steve Anderson also recorded a high 10th place over qualification. The team was top seed and Braden and Crystal Gauvin ranked first in the mixed team.

The compounder’s performance as a group wasn’t the best of the day from the States squad, though. All four of the nation’s recurve men won themselves a free trip into the third round of Wroclaw’s eliminations.

Collin Klimitchek took top seed with a “competition personal best” of 678, Sean McLaughlin second on 673 and Brady Ellison one point behind in third – with Zach Garrett the lowest scorer on 666.

Quite a formidable collection of recurve results and more than enough to take top seeding in the team and, like the compound squad, mixed team. That was courtesy of Collin’s score and Mackenzie Brown’s competition best of 653 and fifth ranking.

In total, that made two individual top seeds, both mixed team top seeds and two of four top seeds in the team competitions for the USA in Wroclaw.

All things considered: One of team USA’s best competition days in recent memory.