USA’s Nick Kappers and Paige Pearce scoop Pan Am compound titles

Nick Kappers

USA locked out men’s and women’s Pan American Championship titles with Nick Kappers and Paige Pearce taking compound golds in Santiago, Chile.

World number 180 Kappers claimed an incredible victory on international debut, beating the highly-fancied Miguel Becerra of Mexico 149-148 in the final.

The pair both notched 29 in the first end, but Kappers stayed perfect from there while Becerra strayed with a nine in the fourth, all that was required for the 29-year-old to triumph.

“It’s surreal,” Kappers said. “Nothing compares to the feeling of being up on stage and competing against athletes of this level.”

“I let one go in the first end and I just had to make every other one count after that.”

Kappers’s compatriot Sawyer Sullivan took a breakout bronze with a convincing win over Mexico’s Uriel Olvera.

The 18-year-old assumed a 59-56 lead in the second end and never looked back, prevailing 148-143 for a maiden senior medal of his own.

Compound men’s individual podium at Santiago 2022 Pan American Championships.

There was more American success in the women’s event as Pearce walked away with gold from her first World Archery target event of 2022. Incredibly she only began breaking in a new bow two days before the Championships. 

Paige edged out Sara Lopez by a single point in the semifinals but there was no such nail-biting in the final where she beat Paola Corado of El Salvador 146-142.

“I’m not going to lie, I had pretty low expectations coming here,” said the 27-year-old. “This has completely surpassed everything I was hoping for, it’s really exciting.”

“I’ve been struggling a bit for forgiveness on the new set-up so I was a little bit nervous, but I knew if I did my part, I’d be okay. I knew what I needed to do and it paid off.”

It was Pearce’s second Pan American Championship gold after victory in the team event in 2018 and her tally of medals at the event now stands at eight.

The Californian, who has been competing on the field circuit this season, secured qualification for the 2023 Pan American Games thanks to her performances this week.

“I don’t think I’m going to be shooting World Cups next year but I’ll do whatever World Archery events that pop up that I can make it to,” she said.

Bronze went to seven-time Hyundai Archery World Cup champion Lopez, her seventh medal at these continental championships.

Colombian teammmate Maria Valentina Suárez, six years her junior, jumped into an 88-86 lead after three ends. But Lopez, 27, pulled through to reach the podium by finishing with two perfect ends as Suárez shot consecutive scores of 28.

Paige Pearce wins Pan American individual title at Santiago 2022.

Earlier, Mexico’s Mariana Bernal and Becerra clinched mixed team gold with an upset win over reigning champions Colombia.

The pair were perfect in the final, aside from a nine shot by Bernal in the first end, running out convincing 159-156 victors over Lopez and Jagdeep Singh Mejia.

“We knew that Colombia was going to be a very strong team,” Bernal said. “We never let our guard down and it showed and we shot very well.”

Bronze went to the USA but only after they were given a shoot-off scare by El Salvador. After both pairs produced scores of 155, Pearce and James Lutz shot 20 in the shoot-off while Sofia Paiz and Douglas Vladimir Nolasco registered 18.

Competition at the Pan American Championships concludes with recurve mixed team and individual finals in the afternoon.