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Hammonton Archer Wins the Gold in Serbia Tournament

July 29, 2009

Atlantic Cape Community College champion archer Steve Gatto of Hammonton helped the U.S. men's compound team bring home the gold at the recent 25th World University Games in Belgrade, Serbia.

Gatto, who shoots exclusively in the compound division, won gold in the men's individual and team competitions, and silver in mixed team competition. 

The event, held July 8-11, featured more than 6,000 students from 144 countries competing in 15 different sports. Gatto competed as a member of the USA College Archery Program, along with college archers from around the country.

Gatto, who achieved All-America status for 2008 and 2009, has competed in numerous tournaments in the U.S. and around the world. In May, he participated in the U.S. Intercollegiate Archery Championships in Long Beach, Calif., where he helped the ACCC male compound team win the national championship title. Gatto came in second overall at that competition, which made him eligible to participate in the World University Games.

 In other achievements, Gatto-who is in his last year at ACCC-ranked second during the U.S. Intercollegiate Archery Championships held at ACCC in May 2008. As a result, he qualified to compete in the prestigious 7th World University Archery Championship in July 2008 at Chang-Jung Christian University in Taiwan. He also competed in the World Cup Stage Three tournament in Antalya, Turkey, in May 2008, and World Cup Stage Four archery championships held in June 2008 in Boe, France.

 He said the tournament in Serbia was the best yet.

"This is like the Olympics of college sports," he said. "There were opening and closing ceremonies. The people were so nice; it was great meeting people from other sports."

ACCC Archery Coach Mick Ebert said the college's highly rated archery team, which participated in the World University Games in the past, was already on the world map. But Gatto's performance took the college to another level.

"The world games are like small Olympics," he said. "These [student athletes] are the best of the best. This says a lot, not just about ACCC, but about Steve himself. He did the work; he deserves the glory."

Thanks to his wins at this tournament, Gatto now qualifies to compete in the 2011 World University Games.

"If I'm still in college, I will be there," he said.