USA compounders defeat Korean men’s and women’s teams in Shanghai finals

11 May 2019
Shanghai, China
The compound women’s team final was decided in a tiebreak.

Compound archers from the USA won the men’s and women’s team gold medals at the second stage of the 2019 Hyundai Archery World Cup in Shanghai, beating Korean opponents in both finals.

“I wasn’t expecting anything less. After qualifications, the way it rolled for all of us. It was ours from the get-go,” said Matt Sullivan.

“It feels great,” added Alexis Ruiz. “We got silver in Colombia, so it feels great to be back up there – but that shoot-off was nerve-wracking.”

The women’s title bout went to the wire.

A pair of eights in the first end had Ruiz, Sophia Strachan and Jamie Van Natta one point behind until the half. The US women shot a perfect 60 in the third to swap the advantage, but Korea erased it in the fourth.

Ruiz needed a 10 with her last arrow of regulation to send the match to a tiebreak – and she drilled an X.

Both teams shot two 10s and a nine in the shoot-off and Choi Bomin, Kim Yunhee and So Chaewon began to celebrate – because they had an arrow closer to the middle.

But then the judge at the target stepped forward to call the winner of the match and called it for the USA. Alexis’ low arrow had caught the bottom of the 10-ring and the US team’s score had been upgraded to a 30.

“It was fantastic. I was just shooting my arrows and that was my job and it was fantastic,” said Van Natta.

“I’d love to say I was the driving force behind this win but I’m not. These guys they’re doing great, they’re amazing shooters and it actually felt a lot like the teams back in the day, when I had Erika [Jones], Christie [Colin] and other archers with me, too.”

The men had a perfect finish, too – for the last 12 arrows of their final.

Braden Gellenthien dropped nines with his last shots of the first and second ends, but Kris Schaff and Sullivan were perfect throughout. 

Choi Yonghee, Kim Jongho and international rookie Yang Jaewon did not shoot badly. Their 235 points, five down, just wasn’t enough to beat the USA’s 238.

“We shot great today. Braden had that first one, shot it out left, just a little bit of nerves but other than that they were all there or just off,” said Schaff.

Gellenthien highlighted the importance of open communication between his teammates in the arena: “To be with two other guys that you trust completely to shoot all 10s and allow me to have a few finals match jitters, it’s really comforting,” he said.

Turkey beat Chinese Taipei in the compound women’s team bronze medal match. 

China collected only its second compound medal in the history of the Hyundai Archery World Cup. The host’s compound men’s team beat Turkey, 230-229, to the third spot on the podium.

“We were picked from a Chinese club, but we haven’t had much time to prepare – only three hours a day for the past month,” said Sun Yingjie. “It’s great to get a medal.”

The Chinese team has only previously fielded compound archers twice at stages of the international circuit – in Shanghai in 2006, when the men’s team also took bronze, and 2009.

This year’s event also marks the first time a Chinese compound archer will contest an individual medal. Luo Sha will shoot for women’s bronze against Alexis Ruiz.

​The second stage of the 2019 Hyundai Archery World Cup takes place on 6-12 May in Shanghai, China.