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Casey Kaufhold, 17, scores silver at archery worlds, best for U.S. woman in 42 years

2021 Hyundai World Archery Championships, Yankton, South Dakota, USA

YANKTON, USA - SEPTEMBER 26: In this handout image provided by the World Archery Federation, Casey Kaufhold of USA during the Women’s recurve finals during the 2021 Hyundai World Archery Championships on September 26, 2021 in Yankton, South Dakota, USA. (Photo by Dean Alberga/Handout/World Archery Federation via Getty Images )

World Archery Federation via Get

Brady Ellison entered the 2021 World Archery Championships as the biggest U.S. storyline, but it was Casey Kaufhold who emerged the American headliner when competition ended on Sunday in Yankton, South Dakota.

The 17-year-old Kaufhold, who was fresh off her Olympic debut and a fourth-place finish at the World Archery Youth Championships, surprised the field to earn the silver medal.

She even defeated recent Olympic champion An San of Korea, 6-2, in the semifinal. Kaufhold had tied for 17th in Tokyo.

“I literally thought of it as I have nothing to lose,” Kaufhold, said to USA Archery. “I’m 17 and I’ve only been shooting international tournaments for like three years so why hold back. I put everything out there, didn’t hold back pretty much and that was my main goal, to leave it all out there on the stage.”

Kaufhold qualified fifth in the tournament, giving her a bye to the third round, where she won 6-2 over Ukraine’s Veronika Marchenko, the 2014 World indoor champion, before defeating Romania’s Madalina Amaistroaie 6-4 and India’s Ankita Bhakat 6-2 in the quarterfinal.

She fell in the gold-medal match to Jang Minhee, an Olympic champion for Korea in the team event, 6-0; San earned bronze.

Kaufhold’s world championship medal is the first by a U.S. woman since Denise Parker‘s bronze in 1989 (32 years ago) and the best result by a U.S. woman since Judi Adams’ silver in 1979 (42 years ago).

“I didn’t have as good of a year previous as I would have liked but to end the senior international season with a silver at the world championships is just great,” Kaufhold said. “I’m super happy with how I shot, I kept myself composed throughout and I really just couldn’t be happier.”

Ellison, a four-time Olympian at 32 years old, took bronze later in the day and held on to his world No. 1 ranking.

The 2019 World champion and four-time Olympic medalist was a favorite to finally win his first Olympic gold in Tokyo. He was second in the ranking round, but had a surprising exit in the quarterfinals to eventual gold medalist Mete Gazoz of Turkey.

Looking to win the third individual world medal of his career and first on home soil, Ellison qualified third, then won 6-2 in the third round, 6-4 in the fourth and 6-0 - to this summer’s Olympic gold medalist in both men’s team and mixed team, Kim Je Deok - in the quarterfinal.

Ellison finally fell to Marcus D’Almeida of Brazil, 6-4, in the semifinal. It came down to D’Almeida’s 28 and Ellison’s 27 in the fifth and final set.

Ellison then avenged his Olympic loss, taking out Gazoz 6-2 in the battle for bronze. Korea’s Kim Woojin won the world title with a 7-3 victory over D’Almeida for his third world title.

Earlier in the week, the U.S. men’s recurve team of Ellison, Matthew Nofel and Jack Williams took silver in the team event, returning to that podium for the first time in eight years.

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