Mexico seal hat-trick of team golds at Pan American Archery Championships
Mexico sealed three of the four team gold medals on offer in an enthralling afternoon at the Pan American Archery Championships in Santiago, Chile on Saturday.
The Mexicans took top spot in the compound women’s, recurve women’s, and recurve men’s events, with only the men’s compound title escaping them.
The compound women’s trio of Mariana Bernal, Andrea Becerra and Dafne Quintero got the day started in style with a dramatic victory via a shoot-off, with Bernal’s arrow closest to the centre sealing gold.
USA then took compound men’s gold in a thrilling contest against Colombia, with James Lutz, Nick Kappers and Sawyer Sullivan holding their nerves to win by a point.
And wins in both recurve contests sealed a fantastic afternoon for Mexico, as Alejandra Valencia, Ana Vazquez and Aida Roman edged USA 5-4 in the women’s event before the men’s trio of Matias Grande, Angel Alvarado and Emilio Trevino defeated Colombia to make it a hat-trick of Mexican medals.
The afternoon of team events got off to an outstanding start with the compound women’s final as Colombia and Mexico pushed each other all the way, with only the closest arrow to the centre able separating the two teams after four ends and a shoot-off.
The Colombian team of Sara Lopez, Alejandra Usquiano and Maria Valentina Suarez, reigning champions from 2021, got off to a strong start and took a two-point lead after the first end but were slowly pegged back by the Mexicans who levelled the scores in the third end, 172-172.
It remained tied after the final fourth end, and the nail-biting shoot-off saw proceedings equal at 29-29 with only Bernal’s arrow able to decide the contest.
The close contests continued to flow in Chile as USA edged Colombia by a single point in the compound men’s final.
Both sides shot in lockstep throughout the first three ends, with a two-point lead for the Americans immediately wiped out in the next end.
With the scores tied 174-174 going into the final end, USA shot a perfect 60 to seal gold as a Colombian arrow strayed into the nine just once.
“We were able to keep our heads, stay strong, and make shots count when we needed them,” said Kappers.
“I trusted my teammates and wanted to make the best of what we can do – which we did with a 60 in the final end,” added Sullivan. “I have great teammates and our opponents were great as well.”
Attentions then turned to recurve, and the theme of close-run finals continued as Mexico defeated USA 5-4 thanks to a shoot-off.
The two sides traded set victories over the regulation four ends, with the American team of Casey Kaufhold, Jennifer Mucino-Fernandez and Savannah Vanderwier taking the first and fourth sets either side of two dominant sets from the Mexican trio.
It meant another shoot-off, which Mexico edged 28-27 to earn a second gold of the day.
“We are very excited because we fought the wind a little and we decided wind could not beat us,” said Valencia. “We focused on doing our jobs, we knew we could do our best and this result motivates us even more.”
And Mexico capped the day off in style with a more dominant 6-2 victory over Colombia in the recurve men’s final.
The Mexicans raced into a 4-0 lead in the opening two sets before the Colombian trio of Jorge Enriquez, Daniel Pineda Osorio and Andres Pila hauled themselves back into the contest with a strong third set.
It meant a potential third shoot-off of the day if the Colombians took the fourth set, but the Mexican team made sure there would be no such drama with a 52-45 victory in the fourth set to take the gold, their country’s third of the day.
“This team worked so hard during the competition, and we worked really well together,” said Alvardo. “This is only the beginning and I am very proud of my teammates.”
Competition at the Pan American Championships continues with mixed team and individual finals on Sunday.