I wanted to give myself some time to reflect before writing this post about World Cup Finals, but unfortunately I don’t feel much different after a couple of days away from archery. As much as I KNOW it was a huge accomplishment to make the finals my first year on the team, it doesn’t make training for 6 weeks straight to lose after shooting just 15 arrows any easier. Because only 8 people make the finals in each divisions, all you need to do is win one match to guarantee yourself the full 3 matches. However, lose the first one and you are going home after shooting just 1.
As much as I tried to rest and rejuvenate my motivation (and my body) leading into the finals, I can honestly say I went into the event tired and burnt out. Between work, the travel and competing non stop for almost exactly a full year with no break, I was done both mentally and physically (no matter what I tried to tell myself). Over the past year I participated in a total of 8 World Cups (4 indoor, 4 outdoor), 2 World Cup Finals, 1 World Championship, 2 other international events (Italian Challenge and Versus) AND all the traditional local and national events. If archery was my job, then maybe this wouldn’t have been too much, but for me in my situation it was. For this reason I’m using my time off to reflect and refocus on what’s most important to me and my goals in the sport.
So back to finals in Mexico City…You know in advance the rankings, which means you know the brackets and who you will be shooting against. Unfortunately for me this meant I knew I’d be shooting against one of my best friends in the sport, Linda Ochoa, in the first round. This year alone we had faced each other 4 times in head to head competition and our record was split 2-2, so I knew it would be a battle.
Because the finals is an unfunded trip in the US, I was responsible for providing (and paying) for my own coach. I decided to bring R with me since he is always stuck at home while I travel the world. I knew it would be a great opportunity for him to see what it’s truly like competing on the international level.
We arrived Thursday afternoon, which meant an afternoon to get settled in and relax before all the festivities of the weekend. Friday was official practice day where compounders shot in the morning on the unofficial practice range, then after lunch we headed to the venue. Each archer got about an hour on the official practice range, then 30 minutes to shoot on the finals field. This was a pretty cool experience, since normally you don’t step foot on a finals venue until your match is about to begin.
I shot “ok” on Friday, but I wasn’t worried bc some of my best scores were shot after days like that. Saturday we were up early as my match would be the second one of the day. I wanted to be warmed up for my match, however, I didn’t want to warm up too much because if I won it would be a long day with my next match not until after 3pm! As soon as the first match started, we were called to the waiting area. We next headed out on to the field, and while the stands weren’t as full as I expected the home crowd was excited to have a Mexican archer to cheer for.
I opened the match with some low arrows, struggling to find the 10 ring, so I quickly was down in the match. I cranked my sight and the next end hit my first arrow high! The match was tied after two ends, however, that would be the last of a tight battle. Linda proceeded to drop only one point in the last three ends to easily give her the victory. With the exception of my last shot of the day, I felt like I made good shoots, they just weren’t catching 10s. It’s frustrating when that happens, but I was really excited for Linda to win on home soil.
At this point it was 11:30 on Saturday, I had shot 15 arrows for score and I was done. It was a very strange feeling to have trained for 6 weeks, to have traveled to Mexico, to have done the walk through and prep and it was all over so quickly. My advice for others in this situation is to really enjoy the time bc in a blink of an eye it’s all over with.
As a fan of the sport, all I could do was turn my attention to the athletes still in the competition and cheer them on from the stands. Compound titles were awarded at the end of the day on Saturday, and the entire process was repeated on Sunday with recurve.
Team USA ended up with two fourth place finishers in Mackenzie Brown and Collin Klimitchek, both first time finals participants. It was great to have teammates to cheer for during afternoon matches! After watching them it was time to pack up, so we could be at the airport first thing Monday morning to head back to reality and our jobs. In the end I know I am very lucky to have even made it to the finals. No, it wasn’t the result I wanted, but I have plenty of years ahead of me. I’m going to take what I learned and move forward, hopefully improving as an archer along the way.