Last weekend I got to go to my “favorite place on earth.” For those who have trouble reading sarcasm through the computer, Yankton is probably my LEAST favorite place to travel to. It requires me flying into Omaha, renting a car, driving a couple of hours on flat flat flat highway with minimal places to stop (talk about making you want to fall asleep), and staying at one of 2 or 3 hotels in the area. Once you get to Yankton there isn’t much for you to do besides shoot archery, which is why I figured I might as well do both tournaments being offered. No need for down time in a place like Yankton.
My primary reason to heading to Yankton was for USA Archery’s annual Field Nationals. This is one of the few areas of archery that I haven’t tried yet, so with a couple of weeks still until World Cup Finals, I figured why not. For those not familiar with Fita Field it’s a two-day tournament with the first day being 24 unmarked targets from 10-55 meters (for adults) and the second day being 24 marked (or known) targets from 10-60 meters. That meant 72 scoring arrows each day, and then I would be adding 90 more on Saturday and 60 on Sunday for the NFAA Target Nationals tournament. Talk about a lot of shooting!
I did better than expected on the first day of field with the distance judging. With the exception of one big mistake (I thought a 60cm target face was an 80!), I felt like I did really well getting yardages close. The biggest problem I had was being able to see the yellow (center of the target rings), especially on the little bunny targets (10-15 meters, 20cm face). For some reason with my normal target setup, the yellow seemed to blur into the black (especially in the shade) so I couldn’t tell where the middle of the target was. This left me struggling on the close shots, and I didn’t get a single 18 (all 6s) on one of these targets the entire day.
Lesson: I need to play around with different scope/peep sizing so I can see the target in all lighting conditions
After the round, I was sitting comfortably in 2nd place. I couldn’t go back and rest after being at the field for over 6 hours bc I still had another tournament to shoot. That afternoon/evening was a struggle for me. Now that I’ve been back at work this year, I don’t get to shoot near the volume of arrows that I previously had. That meant I was shooting more Saturday for score then I do 95% of the time in practice.
As the round progressed (60, 50 to 40 yards) I became more and more tired. My back muscles were sore and my front arm didn’t want to hold the bow up when it was time to shoot. I lucked out, and even though I dropped more points than I would have liked, I closed the day in first by a single point. I knew that didn’t mean much since Sunday was supposed to be windy and we would be shooting at a smaller target face (meaning I expected more points being dropped), but I was happy nonetheless.
After a quick dinner with friends, I headed to bed, so I’d be rested for day 2. I knew it was going to be a long day, so I made the decision early in the field round to not do anything crazy, but try to conserve as much energy as possible for the afternoon round. I knew it was essentially impossible to catch Jamie who was in first for field, but it would be easy for me to lose first in the target nationals. Some probably don’t agree with my decision, as they go 100% in for every tournament, but I was treating the field as a learning experience being my first time anyways. Did I want to win? Of course, but I was also realistic about my chances going in.
We ended up making record time with Sunday being marked yardages and a bunch of empty targets in front of us (thanks organizers!). That meant those of us shooting both tournaments were able to grab some lunch and rest for a little while before we had to be ready to shoot the afternoon session. I happily walked away from my first field tournament with a silver medal. Even more exciting I realized was the fact that I had gotten a medal at EVERY single USA Archery Nationals this year (indoor, outdoor and field), and it just so happens that I took 2nd in each one. I love the idea of a trifecta, but next year I hope I can turn that into triple gold!
Next up was my chance at my first National Championship title. The wind had definitely picked up from the day before, and today we started at 40 yards (vs the opposite the previous day) meaning we would be working our way out to longer distances.
I started off very well at 40. The wind was challenging, but I just focused on making good shots and being smart (read about my suggestions for shooting in the wind here). We hit 50 and not only did the wind pick up, but my lack of ability to aim at the target face at that distance reared its ugly head and I struggled big time!
We finished 50, and I had to assume I had not only lost 1st, but second also as Erika and Jamie were shooting well. I had to regroup mentally, but I reminded myself I love 60. The longer distances always seem to be my strength, so I took it as a challenge. I don’t care what they do, but I’m going to put up a great score for these last 4 ends. I ended up dropping just under two points an end (7 total), which I wasn’t exactly happy about until I discovered I had won!
I can now officially say I am not only a World Cup Champion, but I am also a National Champion!