Crook bags medal set as USA takes three compound team titles
Update: USA wins junior women’s team final to secure three of four compound youth team titles in Yankton.
Her morning started with a girls’ team gold medal match against Mexico.
Crook and teammates Cassidy Cox and Breanna Theodore took a five-point lead after six arrows and only extended it over the following 18. The USA squad equalled the world record for the match round with 228, taking gold with an 11-point margin over their Mexican opponents.
“The crowd was amazing,” said Dahlia. “We had a good rotation and we were able to support each other well.”
Daniel admitted the whole match was a total rush. It was the first time the three had been in a finals arena.
The match ran fast and furious on the target, too. The USA collected a three-point lead after six arrows that extended to eight at halfway. Twelve in lead with one end to go, the States coasted to an easy championship title.
The USA won junior women’s gold later in the afternoon on the back of Paige Pearce, Emily Fischer and Danielle Reynolds’ endurance against Colombia. Despite trailing throughout the match, the girls remained determined and stole gold in the last end.
It was no surprise performance – as these girls are accustomed to winning.
“I was defending my title from last year,” explained Pearce. “This is my fifth youth title and I have won gold every single time I have represented the USA.”
All three junior girls have previously been part of the nation’s cadet women’s squad that has not lost the world title since the cadet team event was introduced in 2006.
The team clean sweep was on the cards when the States’ junior men took to the field to take on Turkey for gold.
Ahead early, a wayward seven in the last end put them in a big hole late in the match – and with too few arrows to dig themselves out. Turkey – featuring the same line-up that won cadet gold two years ago – took the match, 229 to 227, and relegated the USA to junior men’s team silver.
The USA was on the field for one mixed team final, represented by cadets Dahlia and Dane. The USA pair fell behind after the first end when Mexico put three of its first four arrows into the 10-ring. Dane and Dahlia clawed one point back over the next four points and levelled the match by closing with a three 10s.
In the shoot-off, Mexico shot first – and put in a 10, which Dahlia matched.
Cecilio Quevedo stepped on the line, and put in a nine. He said afterwards that his Mexican teammate, Maria Fernanda Garza Espinosa – who was Dahlia’s bronze opponent, too – handled the pressure better – and that he had problems with his release aid.
With a chance to win it with a 10, Dane could only manage a nine. Gold went to Mexico after a measure of the closest arrow to the middle of the target.
Dahlia had another tiebreak situation in the very next match: An individual bronze final tilt against Maria Fernanda from Mexico. It was the third time that morning the two archers had faced off.
“It was great to shoot on the field before my individual match, to get used to the sound in it,” admitted Dahlia. “After I shot 26 for my first end, I had to sight back in because the wind had changed a little bit.”
“The shots started to feel good.”
The match was drawn heading into the final three arrows: 114 each.
Both Dahlia and Fernanda put in two 10s and a nine – although one of the Mexican archers’ 10s had to be checked by a judge as it was close on the line.
Crook stepped up to shoot first in the sudden-death tiebreaker, and shot a 10. (A 10.2 as commentator Crispin Duenas said, about an arrow shaft in.)
Fernanda: A wide nine.
A reversal of fate from the mixed team final – and third place for Dahlia Crook, securing her the complete podium set at Yankton: Gold, silver and bronze.
“The shoot-offs were the best part,” said Crook. “I just love shoot-offs!”