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Penn College Archer Going for Gold in International Competition

A typical summer Saturday afternoon might find Zachary Plannick hanging out with friends at his family’s swimming pool in Coraopolis. Not this Saturday.

Plannick, who will be a junior at Pennsylvania College of Technology in the fall, and U.S. men’s compound teammates Steve Gatto (Atlantic Cape Community College) and Stephen Schwade (University of North Carolina) will be shooting for a gold medal at the 25th World University Games in Belgrade, Serbia.

The U.S. team won all three of its matches Friday to advance to the finale against Mexico. The championship match is scheduled for 3:15 p.m. Belgrade time (9:15 a.m. EDT).

En route to the title match, the United States, which qualified fifth on Wednesday, knocked off Serbia, which qualified 12th, 22-15; edged No. 4 qualifier Canada, 22-21, and then upset No. 1 qualifier Russia, 24-23. Mexico was the No. 3 qualifier.

“We’re very pleased,” said Plannick’s mother, Joanne, during a telephone interview late Friday afternoon. “He called me as soon as he knew this morning. Oddly enough, Zach shot against one of the kids on the Mexican team at the Junior Worlds in 2006.

“They (Plannick and his teammates) are excited. They are focused. They are really confident,” Joanne Plannick said, adding, “It’s hard being here and not there, especially today.”

American men’s compound teams took home silver in 2005 and bronze in 2003.

Glen Thomas, of Mercer, who will be a sophomore at Penn College in the fall, is a member of the U.S. men’s recurve team that also competed Friday. After qualifying eighth, the United States eliminated No. 9 Mexico in a tiebreaker before falling to No. 1 qualifier Korea, 18-13.

This year’s World University Games include more than 6,300 athletes from 142 countries. The Games, which are held biennially, conclude Sunday. Through Friday, Japan led with 61 medals; China had 51; Russia, 46; Korea, 36; and the United States, 27.