LIMA, Peru - Team USA's Paige Pearce and Braden Gellenthien wrote history Saturday among the first compound archers in the Pan American Games finals. Twenty of the Americas' best archers contested the inaugural compound events at the prestigious quadrennial continental championships in a significant push toward eventual Olympic inclusion.
Paige Pearce, the reigning world target silver medalist, world field champion and world indoor team champion had a tough bracket with many strong competitors in the lineup. She qualified fourth and battled her way to the bronze final against Argentina's Gonzalez Briozzo. Pearce took an early lead, and only dropped on point on the finals field to finish with an outstanding 149-143 win.
"Being the first U.S. compound women to attend the Pan American Games meant so much to me," commented Pearce. "But to be walking away from this week with a medal is unlike anything I have ever felt. With this being the first games compound has been allowed to attend, this is a medal and an experience I will never forget!"
World No. 1 Braden Gellenthien was a standout from qualification with an impressive 712 and earned a spot in the gold final against El Salvador's Roberto Hernandez.
Hernandez pulled ahead after the third end and while Gellenthien fought back over the last three arrows, he finished with silver 146-147.
"I feel incredibly honored to be representing Team USA as the first compound shooter invited to the Pan American Games," Gellenthien shared before his final match. "It's a giant step forward to one day representing the USA in the Olympic Games - which I hope to see happen in my career's lifetime."
Competition concludes tomorrow with recurve finals where the Team USA women will officially earn their first quota spot for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Casey Kaufhold and Brady Ellison will tackle the mixed team gold final and Kaufhold, Khatuna Lorig and Erin Mickelberry will also shoot for the women's team gold before Kaufhold and Lorig go head to head in the individual semifinals and then shoot individual medal matches. The Team USA recurve men shoot for bronze as well.
Matches will be broadcast on ESPNU. Complete results from the competition are available at www.worldarchery.org. For more, follow USA Archery on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Photo courtesy of World Archery.
About USA Archery
USA Archery is the National Governing Body for the Olympic sport of archery in the United States. USA Archery selects and trains Olympic, Paralympic, World Championship, and World Cup teams, as well as developing archery at the grassroots level across the United States. For more information, visit www.usarchery.org.