Army Earns Archery Medals, Has Top Swimming Qualifying Times
By Army Master Sgt. Doug Sample
Army News Service
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., May. 13, 2010 What a difference a day makes. After a dismal start during opening competition May 11 at the inaugural Warrior Games, Army teams now have something to cheer about after taking home four medals in archery and qualifying with the best time in 12 of 24 preliminary swim categories.
Staff Sgt. Curtis Winston, Sgt. Michael Lukow and Sgt. Jeffrey Anderson stand for the national anthem after receiving their medals in recurve-bow archery at the inaugural Warrior Games at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., May 12, 2010. Army competitors swept the category. U.S. Army photo by Elizabeth M. Collins
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Army archers swept the recurve-bow medal round, with Sgt. Michael Lukow winning gold, Staff Sgt. Curtis Winston taking silver, and Staff Sgt. Jeffery Anderson earning bronze. Staff Sgt. Robert Price earned bronze in the compound-bow event, while Marine Corps Cpl. Beau Parra won the gold.
Lukow, who is from Colorado and has practiced the sport for two years, said his performance could have been better.
"I don't think I shot as good as I could have," he said. "I just came here looking to do my best, and I did." Now, he added, he wants to continue the sport in the Army World Class Athlete Program.
Winston may have been surprised by his performance as well, because he started shooting just a month ago.
"I came here with no expectations at all," he explained. "I really thought I would finish dead last. I started practicing an hour each day, and I started to pick it up more and more."
Price, who makes his own arrows, was determined to bring home one of the top prizes.
"I came here with a mission to bring home a medal, and I'm taking one home," Price said. "Everybody wants the gold, but I'll settle for the bronze. Can't be too greedy about it."
Meanwhile, Army swim coach Holly Roselle couldn't be more proud of her team’s results heading into tomorrow’s medal events, as Army swimmers turned in many of the best times during preliminary heats.
Sgt. Cayle Foidel and Sgt. Jonathan Moreno placed first and second in the men's 50-meter freestyle competition for swimmers with lower-back injuries, and Foidel again placed first in the 100-meter event. Sgt. Gavin Sibayan, another medal hopeful, had the fastest times in the men's 50- and 100-meter freestyle event for competitors with traumatic brain injuries, and the 50-meter backstroke in that category. For the women, Randi McCartney had the fastest time of 34.36 in the 50-meter freestyle event for swimmers with TBI.
"I'm really proud of my guys,” Roselle said. “A lot of them came into this situation doing things they had never done before. I think to have the courage to step up and try something new, especially in a competitive environment, is so admirable. A lot of them overcame injuries and a lot of pain to be able to complete at these events. So this was a really great day, and I'm so proud of them. I think they did great."
In other Army news from the Warrior Games, the service’s wheelchair basketball team may have found a new offensive weapon in Spc. Michael Ortiz. Ortiz was a one-man show yesterday with a team-high 15 points to give Army a 41-12 rout over Air Force. It was Army's highest point total of the tournament. He even surprised himself.
"Every time I was rolling down the court and scored, I looked over at my guys and I was like, 'Was that me?'" he said, jokingly. Army also got help from Sgt. Paul Roberts, who added eight points in the win. Staff Sgt. Chris D'Angelo led the Air Force squad with four points.
Army coach Alonzo Lunsford was all smiles to see his basketball team finally find its shooting range after a poor outing against the Marines on May 11, in which Army scored just two points the entire second half.
Lunsford said his Army squad looks like a "whole different team" now.
"We finally put our heads together,” he said. “We came up with some new plays, we found out where the kinks are, and now we're going to make it happen on the floor."
The Air Force captured the bronze medal after defeating Navy 13-10 yesterday. The tournament continues today, pitting Army against the Marines for the gold medal, where the “Devil Dogs” are favored to win it all. But if you ask Sgt. 1st Class Jacques Keesler, Army won’t just roll over.
"We are going to go in and do what we can," Keesler said, flexing his muscles. "If we face the Marines, then we are going to give them everything we’ve got."