Team USA had an impressive showing at the archery stadium today, garnering two-thirds of the overall competition medals.
The U.S .women swept the individual recurve competition with Lee Ford (Perry, Ga.) winning the gold.
“I’m overwhelmed, happy. I thought the scoring was wrong, and I was so in the moment of shooting my shot, so I was shocked to realize I had won. This has been such an amazing opportunity.”
Teammate Natalie Wells (San Diego, Calif.) won silver, and D’Arce Hess (Nevada City, Calif.) claimed the bronze.
“This is the best venue we’ve ever shot at by far,” said Hess. “The competitive field was really strong talent-wise, and this whole experience really has me looking forward to the Paralympics next year.”
In the men’s competition, Sergeant Michael Lukow (Alamosa, Colo.), won silver in the individual recurve competition. Sergeant Lukow, a member of the Army’s Paralympic World Class Athlete Program had this to say about the competition, “The venue was great, the competition was really good, and I shot the best I could.”
Army Veteran Russell Wolfe (Willamsburg, Va.) won the individual recurve bronze medal match in a tiebreaker. In the end, it all came down to one arrow.
“I’m ecstatic – it’s the first tiebreaker I’ve won,” said Wolfe. “It’s a big mental game and something you can’t train for, so I always try to compete as if every arrow is that single winning arrow.”
U.S. teammates Matthew Stutzman (Fairfield, Iowa) and Army veteran Dugie Denton (Joilet, Mont.) faced off against one another in the men’s individual compound open division with Denton edging out Stutzman in three sets.
“It’s just another competition. You really can’t think about competing against your teammate or you’ll hurt yourself,” said Denton. You just have to turn the switch off, focus on doing the best you can, because it’s really just another arrow in the target. This has been a really exciting competition, and it gets me really excited for London.”
Team USA athletes shine on center court
Team USA brought home three medals, two gold and one silver, in tennis competition on Thursday.
The men’s doubles team of Jon Rydberg (Oakdale, Minn.) and Steve Welch (Southlake, Texas) took down the pair from Argentina in straight sets (6-2, 6-3).
“We each lost to one of the Argentinians in singles, so to come out and beat them and get that redemption, it was good,” said Rydberg. “We were both pretty relaxed and when you’re relaxed you play well. We did exactly what we needed to do to win.”
Mackenzie Soldan (Louisville, Ky.) defeated U.S. teammate Emmy Kaiser (Ft. Mitchell, Ky.) in three hard-fought sets (1-6, 6-4, 6-4) to take the crown in women’s singles.
Tennis competition concludes on Friday as Kaiser and Soldan team-up to play for gold in women’s doubles and Welch aims for bronze in men’s singles.
U.S. athletes have another big day on the track
Team USA turned out 11 more medals on the track today (three gold, five silver, and three bronze), including a world record performance from wheelchair racer Kristen Messer (Austin, Texas), who won gold and set a new mark in the women’s 100m (T33/34) race.
“I didn’t expect a world record, but I’ll take it,” said a glowing Messer. “I’m just so happy to be here and thankful to all of the people who helped me train, this has been an awesome event.”
Matt Brown (Idalou, Texas) won gold in the men’s discus (F42) event.
“I wasn’t really happy with the distance I threw, but I’m walking away from this competition with a gold medal, so I can’t be upset. I’ve got to stay focused, continue to get stronger and keep my eye on London.”
Dennis Ogbe (Louisville, Ky.) won silver in the men’s shot put (F57/58), his second medal of the competition.
“Even though I won silver, I’m not satisfied, I expected to do better. This has been a real learning experience for me, and I’m excited to keep improving because my ultimate goal is to qualify for the 2012 Paralympics. I’m so proud to be an American and this is one of my dreams coming true.”
Air Force veteran Kate Callahan (San Antonio, Texas) won bronze in the women’s discus competition (F57/58).
“I just had shoulder surgery six weeks ago so I was surprised to medal, I didn’t expect it. I’m so happy to bring this medal home to my five-year-old, and I am just so proud of our entire team. I was in the Air Force for 18 years and am honored to represent my country again.”
Team USA is in second place in track & field competition with a total of 41 medals, right behind Brazil with 44.
Thursday Track & Field Medals Count (11)
Chelsea McClammer (Spokane, Wash.) – gold, 200m (T53)
Matt Brown (Idalou, Texas) – gold, discus (F42)
Kristin Messer (Austin, Texas) – gold & world record, 100m (T33/34)
Dennis Ogbe (Louisville, Ky.) – silver, shot put (F57/58)
Tommy Chasanoff (Bradenton, Fla.) – silver, 200m (T36)
Carleigh Dewald (Canby, Ore.) – silver, 100m (T33/34)
Amberlynn Weber (Spokane, Wash.) – silver, 100m (T54)
Raymond Martin (Jersey City, N.J.) – silver, 400m (T52)
Kate Callahan (San Antonio, Texas) – bronze, discus (F57/58)
Zach Abbott (Tucson, Ariz.) – bronze, 200m (T53)
Robyn Stawski (Tampa, Fla.) – bronze, javelin (F33/34/52/53)
Swimming picks up one more medal on Day 5
Alyssa Gialamas (Naperville, Ill.) won her first Parapan American Games medal when she finished second in the women’s 50m freestyle (S5).
“It feels amazing to see that all my hard work has paid off. I came to the Games to leave it all in the pool and I did,” Gialamas said.
There were also two top-five results at the pool on Thursday. Michelle Fischer (Antelope, Calif.) finished fourth and Joy Stebbins (Ft. Collins, Colo.) finished fifth in the women’s 100m freestyle (S6).
Day 5 Round-up
The U.S. Men’s Sitting Volleyball Team continued its winning streak on Thursday when it defeated Colombia for the second time at the 2011 Parapan American Games. Team USA won in three sets in the semifinals. Set scores were 25-12, 25-12, 25-13.
Eric Duda (Gainesville, Fla.) led all scorers, posting 13 points off seven kills, four aces and two blocks. Brent Rasmussen (Omaha, Neb.) added 10 points on seven kills, two aces and a block. Roderick Green (West Monroe, La.) also tallied nine points off seven kills, one ace and one block. The team’s overall hitting percentage was .431.
“We are thrilled to compete in the finals, but we know that we need to play well to get the result we want,” said head coach Bill Hamiter. “Brazil is tough, and it’s going to be a close match. We want that gold medal and a spot in London.”
Team USA will play Brazil in the gold-medal match Friday, Nov. 18 at 7 p.m.
The U.S. men cruised into the semifinals with a decisive 86-7 win over El Salvador on Thursday. Team USA was led by Nate Hinze (Cedar Grove, Wis.) with 14 points.
“The guys are doing a great job,” said head coach Jim Glatch. “We’ve set goals for them each game and they’ve worked hard to accomplish them. Our half-court defense has been fun to watch and we have talked all year about that being the staple of our team.”
The Americans play Mexico in the semifinals at 8:15 p.m. CT on Friday for a berth in the gold medal game.
On the women’s side, Team USA has advanced to the gold medal game after a 66-32 victory over Brazil in the semifinal. The win also qualified the U.S. for a slot at the London 2012 Paralympic Games. Becca Murray (Germantown, Wis.) led the team with 23 points and 11 rebounds.
Team USA plays Canada in the final at 6:00 p.m. CT on Saturday, Nov. 19.
Tahl Leibovitz (Ozone Park, N.Y.) and Wayne Lo (Sunnyvale, Calif.) won their semifinal match against Colombia, 3-1, in the men’s team (C 9-10) event to advance to the gold medal match against Brazil, which is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 18.
Tara Profitt (Newington, Conn.) and Pam Fontaine (Double Oak, Texas) earned their second win in the women’s team (C 1-3) event against Venezuela, 3-1, to advance to the finals match against Mexico on Friday.
The men’s team (C 4-5) composed of Andre Scott (San Diego, Calif.), Stuart Caplin (Orange Park, Fla.), and Emmanuel Shiu (Brisbane, Calif.) won their preliminary match against Chile, 3-1. The team played against Brazil in the semifinals and fell short, 3-0. Scott, Caplin, and Shiu will play for the bronze medal against Mexico on Friday.
The Team USA women won their game against Canada on Thursday with a score of 5-2. The victory advanced them to the semifinal match against host Mexico scheduled for Friday, Nov. 18 at 9:00 a.m. CT. On the men’s side, Team USA defeated Argentina by a score of 12-7 to advance to the semifinal match against Canada on Friday at 6:00 p.m.
U.S. powerlifter Tyler Brey (Rocklin, Calif.) was unable to complete a qualifying lift during his competition on Thursday and now turns his attention to a February event where he’ll continue his quest to become a member of Team USA for the 2012 Paralympic Games.
“It’s pivotal that he train hard and do well in the next competition in order to make it to London,” said head coach Mary Hodge.
Competition continues for the other members of the team Nov.18-19. Chelsi Figley (East Palestine, Ohio) and Jacob Schrom (Carlisle, Pa.) compete Friday and Mary Stack (Ann Arbor, Mich.) and Ahmed Shafik (Tucson, Ariz.) compete Nov. 19.
2011 Parapan American Games Medals Table
Rank Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
1 Brazil 54 36 42 132
2 Mexico 33 41 30 104
3 USA 34 30 22 86
4 Argentina 14 17 24 55
5 Canada 11 18 18 47