USA in three finals: Brady Ellison, Paige Pearce and James Lutz have chance at world titles
Team USA has three archers shooting for world champion titles this weekend in ’s-Hertogenbosch.
“It’s awesome, you know. I almost lost that first match but I shot it well and then towards the end of that match I just thought it was going to be one of those days even though it’s windy. I’m going to have to shoot well,” said Ellison.
He had just finalised a 7-1 semifinal victory over Italy’s Mauro Nespoli with a perfect 30-point set.
“I’m able to shoot, I’m able to practice again and it’s making a huge difference and I’m still not where I want to be. I’m just hoping that by the time the [Olympic] Games come around, I’m going to feel 100% ready to be there.”
Ellison has been in incredible form so far in 2019.
He won the first stage of the Hyundai Archery World Cup in Medellin, finished third at the second in Shanghai and won again at leg three in Antalya.
Seeded second at these world championships, Brady needed a shoot-off to beat Pravin Ramesh Jadhav in his first match but then calmly progressed through his side of the bracket.
Meanwhile, at the other end of the line, it was chaos.
It was Malaysian man Khairul Anuar Mohamad that emerged from the broken bracket, defeating Shana in the semis.
“I never thought I’d be in the finals because I had a lot of pressure to qualify an individual Olympic spot,” said Khairul, who did just that by making the final.
“I don’t know what’s going on today because I made it to the finals. I’m not sure I’ll win but I will try hard because I have one step forward so I will try my best.”
Ellison enters their final as the heavy favourite – although the pair have barely met in international competition. (Just twice, and the record stands at one win apiece.)
But there is much more pressure on Brady’s shoulders.
The four-time Hyundai Archery World Cup Champion has wanted the world champion title for so long. At the 2019 Hyundai World Archery Championships in ’s-Hertogenbosch, he finally has his shot.
“‘Brady Ellison, world champion’ would sound pretty good, I would really like the sound of that but I have one more match and I’m not going to think about it,” said Ellison.
“I just have to go out there and shoot every arrow as best as I can and I’ve been shooting well in the finals so far this year. I just need to keep up those scores and hopefully, it’ll be enough.”
Brady also qualified the USA a single recurve men’s quota spot for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games by making the final.
Compound archers Paige Pearce and James Lutz haven’t been waiting so long for this final – but want the win no less.
Pearce is the reigning World Archery Field Champion. She battled her way up from the 20th seed at this event – needing to win six matches to make a final against Natalia Avdeeva.
“I’m so excited. Honestly, when I looked at the bracket line-up I was like ‘wow, I couldn’t have landed any worse’,” said Paige.
“And my teammate Braden [Gellenthien] actually said to me ‘yeah, you are going to roll through and win’ and I was like ‘yeah, okay’ and then it happened. I’m totally speechless, I can’t even believe it.”
Twenty-one-year-old Lutz was entirely unknown on the international circuit less than a month ago.
He made his debut at the third stage of this year’s Hyundai Archery World Cup in Antalya, winning it – and with a perfect 150-point match in the final.
Seeding just 23rd in ’s-Hertogenbosch seemed irrelevant to the rookie.
Lutz shot 150 in his first match, won two shoot-offs through six rounds – including one over world number one Mike Schloesser in the quarterfinals – and bagged a place in his second international final in a row.
“The hardest match was obviously against Mike Schloesser, he’s the hometown favourite and he’s used to shooting 150s, but he gave me one and then I gave him one in the last end and it went down to one arrow. I’m feeling pretty good,” he said.
“I mean I came here with that mindset [that I would shoot for gold], so I’m happy and I expected it but you know, it's always nice when plans fall in place and things just go together.”
Braden Gellenthien will shoot for his fourth individual world championship medal against top seed Kim Jongho in the compound men’s bronze final.
Compound finals take place on Saturday 15 June and recurve finals on Sunday 16 June.
The 2019 Hyundai World Archery Championships take place on 10-16 June in ’s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands.