Raegan Bender had a rough start at the World Archery youth championships, but she rebounded to help the United States win the team gold medal.

After finishing 33rd in individual competition, the Millard North senior joined Faith Miller of California and Mackenzie Weatherspoon of Utah in the team round. They defeated Hong Kong, Australia, Mexico and then Russia in the gold medal match in Madrid, Spain.

Mexico had been seeded No. 1.

As she prepared for the team competition last weekend, Bender reminded herself the individual matches were over and there was nothing she could change.

"My team needs me," she told herself, "and I had to be all there, nowhere else.”

Bender, who works and practices at Full Draw Archery, said it was an honor to represent the U.S.

"I had an amazing experience competing with some of the best youth archers in the world," she said. "The competition pushed everyone to perform at their very best and this will be an experience I will remember the rest of my life."

Marjie is a writer for The World-Herald’s special sections and specialty publications, including Inspired Living Omaha, Wedding Essentials and Momaha Magazine. Follow her on Twitter @mduceyOWH. Phone: 402-444-1034.

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