Army warriors earn medals in archery; qualify best times in swimming
May 13, 2010
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Army News Service, May 13, 2010) -- What a difference a day makes. After Tuesday's dismal start during opening competition 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.
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 the Marine Corps Cpl. Beau Parra won the gold.
Speaking to reporters, 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 Lukow 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," Winston 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 actually 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."
Elsewhere, Army swim coach Holly Roselle couldn't be more proud of her team results heading into the medal events on Friday, as Army swimmers turned in many of the best times during preliminary heats.
Sgt. Cayle Foidel and Sgt. Johnathan Moreno placed first and second in the men's 50-meter free LBI (lower back injury); and Foidel again placed first in the 100-meter. Sgt. Gavin Sibayan, another medalist hopeful, had the fastest times in the men's 50 and 100-meter free TBI (traumatic brain injury), and the 50-meter back TBI. For the women, Randi McCartney had the fastest time of 34.36 in the 50-meter free TBI.
"I'm really proud of my guys. 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."
_Finally got their act together_
The Army wheelchair basketball team may have found a new offensive weapon in Spc. Michael Ortiz. On Wednesday, Ortiz was a one-man show 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 tourney. Ortiz, who is every bit the warrior, surprised even 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 Air Force with four points.
Army coach Alonzo Lunsford was all smiles to see his team finally find its shooting range after a poor outing against the Marines on Tuesday, in which Army scored just two points the entire second half.
Lunsford said his Army squad looks like a "whole different team."
"We finally put our heads together, 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," he said.
The Air Force captured the bronze after defeating Navy 13-10 on Wednesday. The tourney continues Thursday 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 is not expected to just roll over.
"We are going to go in do what we can," Keesler said, while flexing his muscles. "If we face the Marines, then we are going to give them everything we got."