Coming into Vegas I was ready. After two weeks in Europe, I was happy to be back in the US, but I was even happier with how I was shooting. My big goal for the indoor season was to win the Indoor World Cup Finals, and I knew I had positioned myself well to do just that.
We arrived late Wednesday night, since practice began Thursday morning. I was able to check in with some of my sponsors and get a good round of practice in. I wasn’t scoring amazing, but that didn’t worry me bc I seem to do better if I don’t have an awesome practice the day before a tournament.
Friday the pro women shot at 9:30, just like last year. I was so happy the schedule had not been changed. Typically at tournaments, all the pros shoot in the afternoon or the last line of the day, which is definitely not suited to me. I know most of the women were upset with our shooting times, but I was glad to have it mixed up so morning people like me finally got a good time to shoot.
After waiting in line over an hour to practice that morning, I gave up and headed to the arena. In USAA and World Archery events we don’t get practice and last year my only 300 round came with no practice, so I figured what the heck. We were given 2 ends of official practice and then moved right into scoring. The first arrow of the second end I drew back and shot a beautiful shot. In my mind, there was no doubt it was an X. I looked down at the target and thought I saw the arrow way out…hmmm, I figured it was just a bad kick I was seeing, but I pulled out my binos to verify. I was wrong, the arrow WAS way out of the big 10 ring (what counts for Vegas), and I had no idea why. Worst part was I had to shoot 2 more arrows in that end, not confident in where they were going to go.
I pulled that arrow from my quiver and managed not to drop another point until the 9th and 10th ends. Overall, I felt very weird at the end of the day. My score did not reflect how I felt I was shooting, and I knew I was already out of the tournament, having dropped more points in one day then I had all of last year. Day 2 went very similar. I felt like I was making strong shots and was executing well, however, my X count was garbage, and I again dropped 3 big 10s.
In addition to feeling frustrated and losing confidence in myself (after just getting it back in Europe), Friday and Saturday scores would count towards the 4th leg of the indoor World Cup. I had been in 1st place going into the 4th leg, however, because I participated in all 4, I would have to drop my lowest score. I was hoping to drop Bangkok, but with my poor showing in the first two days in Vegas, I would get 0 points, meaning that was the tournament I would drop.
Due to some crazy drops by other top women, I managed to hold on to my top spot going into Saturday night’s finals. I had to shoot my 23s for the finals, so I spent time in the practice range making sure everything was dialed with them. And then I had a huge lightbulb moment…why was I shooting my 27s!
All the tournaments I have struggled at this year (Iowa, Lancaster), I was shooting my 27s. I had said in both tournaments I felt my score didn’t reflect how I felt I was shooting. I blamed my poor performance on changing releases and other equipment changes, but deep down I had lost confidence in myself. It wasn’t until I headed over to Europe (Nimes and Italian Challenge), that I felt like my scores were reflective of how the shots felt. And guess what I shot 23s there (not my 27s). Ding, ding, ding…maybe I should have never switched to 27s for the tournaments that allowed them.
I really wish I would have realized this BEFORE going to Vegas, or at least after the first day, but I felt so much better headed into the finals having figured this out. I was now confident I could turn the weekend around by meeting my goal of winning the finals. My first two matches in the finals went fairly smoothly, but when only 4 women remained it was all US women. I was so pumped and excited, but I also knew it was not going to be an easy two remaining matches to win gold. Shooting against these women regularly, I knew I had to be at my best to win.
First, I had to get through Lexi to even make the gold medal match. She opened with a pair of 30s (to my 29/30), so I knew I had to buckle down. I got up there and fought for what I wanted, and I ended up winning by 1 point 148-147. It was a great match, and she shot awesome, so it was disappointing that someone had to lose. This meant I was in to the gold medal match for the second year in a row. Erika also won her match, which meant it was a rematch of last year.
After barely losing to her in Bangkok, I was confident I could win the match. Unfortunately, I think I was a little too calm and I didn’t bring the same fire with me I had in the previous match. I ended up with too many to even remember that were just a little out, and against Erika you have to be on to win. I dropped point after point, and the match easily went in her favor. To say I was bummed would be an understatement. I’ve had some disappointments this year, but to fall short on my primary goal for the indoor season is tough.
It’s amazing to see how far I have come in a year, though. Last year I was ecstatic to finish 2nd in the finals and I wanted to celebrate. This year, I was crushed and just wanted to hide. I know this loss just makes me hungrier for the rest of my goals this year. I also know if you achieve all your goals, you probably didn’t set them high enough. Knowing doesn’t make it any easier though.
Sunday was the final day of the Vegas shoot, and I wisely decided to stick with my 23s that I had shot the night before. Everything went much better, with arrows going exactly where I expected. I had no more surprises like the first two days, and while I still dropped one so I didn’t get my 300, it is what I deserved bc the arrow went where it should have.
After getting stuck in Vegas an extra day, I now get to spend the next month at home! I will shoot indoor nationals 40 mins from my house in a week and a half and then start prepping my TRG 7 for outdoors.