States men cruise to third team podium on year

After a sixth place to start the season in Shanghai, the USA compound men won gold in Antalya, silver in Wroclaw – and a season-ending first-placed finish at stage four in Medellin.

“We had a pretty good season as a team. We had new people on the team so it’s good to walk away, get a lot of experience and finish on top,” said anchor Reo Wilde, who qualified for his sixth Archery World Cup Final individually in 2015.

The USA and Italy each scored 58 points with their first six arrows in the Medellin final.

Both started 10, 10, 9 in the second end – but as Italy trailed off, shooting the only eight of the tournament, Wilde, Steve Anderson and Braden Gellenthien dropped three arrows into the middle to take a three-point lead.

The advantage expanded by two after six more arrows, and another two points before all 24 shots were sent down-range.

As Braden and Steve celebrated with an orchestrated – and elaborate – handshake that saw them immitate a fin above their heads, the USA waltzed to a seven point victory, 234 to Italy’s 227.

“We were like sharks in the water, ‘los tiburones’,” said Anderson, who was complimentary about his colleagues, saying that good teammates always make travel easy.

“If you don’t like them, then it’s a long year,” he joked! “I’m happy we are wrapping it up but it was fun.”

Both Steve and Braden missed just one 10 through their eight arrows of the final. Braden’s nine came in the last end, with the match all but out of reach for the Italians.

“It’s really fun to shoot team rounds with Reo and Steve because I have total confidence that they’ll perform,” Braden explained. “When I’m out there I’m able to relax. Even when I’m in the lead position and there’s a little bit of pressure to start the match, I know that even if I shoot a nine they are going to back me up.”

The USA also took compound women’s bronze with a new team line-up, and Archery World Cup Final qualifier Crystal Gauvin watching on from the coaches box.

After launching a comeback from a four-point deficit at halfway to draw level after 18 arrows, the match went to a deciding line-call at the end of regulation.

The States had 230, Mexico 229 – but with one arrow close to the line.

A line judge checked the arrow and decided the shaft was breaking the black dividing line between the nine and the 10, upgrading it and drawing the match at 230-all – sending the bronze final to a tiebreaker.

When the USA started 10, 9 and Mexico dropped an eight, Paige Pearce stepped to the line needing an eight to win. She drilled an arrow into the 10-ring, and the USA won the shoot-off 29 points to Mexico’s 26.

“We’ve been working really well as a team, so we went out there expecting the best,” said Lexi Keller. She, Paige and Danielle Reynolds had never shot together as a team before.

Pearce said shooting the team event was also a good opportunity to “shoot some arrows on the finals venue” before her individual gold medal match later in the day.

“I got my sight sighted in, so I know where they are going to hit,” she explained.