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Former Penn College Archer Medals at World Games

Having struck “gold” in archery two years ago at the World University Games, Zachary Plannick had hopes of bringing home more medal when he left for China two weeks ago to compete in the 26th Summer Games. This time, he added silver and bronze.

Plannick, a 22-year-old from Coraopolis who graduated from Pennsylvania College of Technology in May, and Glen Thomas, 21, of Mercer, a senior manufacturing engineering technology student, represented the college during competition in Shenzhen, China, Aug. 14-18. They returned home over the weekend.

Plannick teamed with Kendal Nicely, of Gorham, Maine, for a silver medal in the mixed compound event and with Texas A&M archers Adam Gallant and Adam Wruck for a third-place finish in the men’s compound. Korean archers dominated the archery competition, winning gold in six of 10 team and individual events along with three silvers and a bronze.

“It was awesome. It was everything I expected, and more. They (the Chinese) went above and beyond over there for the shoot,” said Plannick, who was a member of the gold medal-winning men’s compound team two years ago in Belgrade, Serbia.

Although Plannick graduated, he still got to compete in the games as they are for 17- to 24-year-olds who are, or in the past year have been, a college or university student.

In the mixed compound final, Plannick and Nicely lost to a Korean duo, 11-8. In the semifinals, they edged Iran in a tie-breaker, 1-0, after topping a tandem from Kazakhstan in the second round, 13-10. They had a first-round bye after qualifying second to Korea.

“I was happy that we got silver. We shot pretty decent “¦ but we didn’t capitalize on what we could have done,” Plannick said.

The American men’s compound team also qualified second and earned a first-round bye, after which they got past Iran, 16-15, before losing to eventual champ France, 16-13. Facing Korea for third place, the U.S. won a tie-breaker, 3-1.

“In the compound, Korea had the Nos. 1-3 and 9 qualifiers. They were a very, very strong team and very accurate. I’m happy that we edged them out. It was probably one of my most favorite medals just because it meant that much (beating Korea),” Plannick said.

Individually, Plannick tied for ninth in the men’s compound (he qualified second) while Thomas tied for 33rd in the men’s recurve (he qualified 49th).

Plannick said he was “very happy” with his 701 qualifying score as it was the best he’s done in competition this year. “To do it there really meant a lot,” he added.

When it got to medal rounds, “I don’t really know what happened. There was a long pause while we were waiting (to shoot). My first two rounds I shot a 25 and a 26, and I don’t think I dropped that many points in practice combined. I wasn’t very happy with that beginning. Everything felt good, but the arrows weren’t going where I was pointing,” Plannick said.

In men’s recurve team competition, Thomas and his two teammates were eliminated in the first round by Taiwan, 22-13. They had qualified 13th.

“I shot a little lower than I expected, but there was some pretty good competition there,” Thomas said.

Commenting on Korea’s domination, Thomas said, “That’s basically all they do. It’s pretty hard to compete with that when you’ve got other things going on, like here.”

Added Plannick, “Korea always has been strong in recurve and (I was told) they just started shooting compound three or four years ago. For them to be that good, that fast is remarkable.”

Overall, though, Thomas said, “It was a really good time. We didn’t get to see a whole lot, other than the athlete village, but it was huge. There were so many people there, and it was a great experience.

“All in all, it was a pretty good trip, and I’ll try to make the team next year and go to Spain. That’s what I’m working toward now,” he said.

For Thomas, it’s back to classes at Penn College, albeit a week late. Plannick, on the other hand, returns to his job as an industrial engineer for White Castle in Columbus, Ohio.

“Now working, it makes it more difficult (to continue competitive shooting). I’ll probably do a lot of the Friday-Saturday-Sunday shoots. I’ll try to keep shooting as much as I can. I definitely want to do the indoor shoots. I don’t want to stop shooting, but we’ll see how everything plays out,” Plannick said of his future in the sport.

“I’m glad I got to bring home some medal for my last collegiate shoot. The entire team was awesome. We all went out together, everybody hung out and it was a great environment all-around. “It was really, really cool,” Plannick added.

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