Sharks in the Water

MEDELLIN, Colombia – Hope springs eternal in the city of the eternal spring for USA as the archers dominated final after final. Making two team podiums yesterday and qualifying five athletes for the World Cup Final, the untouchable compound squad took to the field to shoot in every event.

Recurve Saturday opened with the women’s team down behind Mexico, but USA brought it back to a shoot off and won. This morning again, USA women, Paige Pearce (Red Bluff, California), Lexi Keller (Omro, Wisconsin), and Danielle Reynolds (Gilbert, Arizona) trailed behind Mexico by 4 points, which they made up in the third end with a near-perfect 59 and went again to shoot off. With three strong shots, USA repeated yesterday and took the bronze win to start the day.

The world record holding team (239 out of 240), Braden Gellenthien (Hudson, Massachusetts), Reo Wilde (Pocatello, Idaho) and Steve Anderson (Salt Lake City, Utah), have not missed a World Cup podium in 2015. At this final stage of the event, they were not to be slighted.

Shooting against historic rivals from Italy, the match began very tight, tied with 58s after one end, and then matching arrow for arrow. Things changed when Italy’s Sergio Pagni faltered and dropped an 8. With the final 6 arrows to go, USA had a five-point lead. The powerhouse trio increased the lead to 7 points to take the gold win 234-227.

“We had a pretty good season as a team,” Wilde told World Archery. “We had new people on the team so it’s good to walk away, get a lot of experience and finish on top.”

“It’s really fun to shoot team rounds with Reo and Steve because I have total confidence that they’ll perform,” Gellenthien added. “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.”

Wilde took the field again with Keller for mixed team bronze. The experienced 41 year-old and 19 year-old Keller continued their consistent dominance on the field, opening with a perfect 40. India dropped a 7 at the start of the second end and Keller and Wilde closed in for an easy win by a wide margin.

In an intense match, Pearce, who has made quite a name for herself on the junior circuit took on World No. 1 ranked Sara Lopez on her home turf. Lopez had a loud fan section behind her, filled with friends and family, and with five individual podiums to her name in the Archery World Cups and multiple world records, there was great pressure on the match.

Pearce had a slow start with a 27 in the first end, but finished strong, including a 30 in the third end to give Lopez a run for her money. Just three points down in the final tally, Pearce took the silver and her first individual podium finish in the Archery World Cup series.

Wilde took to the field for a third time, shooting for individual bronze in a highly anticipated match with Denmark’s Stephan Hansen billed by World Archery as: “Experience v Generation X. One of the most decorated compound archers in the world, the current 15-arrow match world record holder at 150 12X and six-time (including 2015) Archery World Cup Finalist versus the new, 20-year-old World Archery Champion.”

Wilde showed Hansen how the pros do it–shooting only a single 9 in the third end, Wilde posted a 149 to keep the win out of reach for the young archer. Taking his third medal of the day, Wilde claimed the bronze and secured the U.S. a spot on every podium of the day.

See video of the matches and complete scores from the event here. For more, follow USA Archery on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.