This year’s Indoor World Championships were held in Ankara, Turkey. There was a lot of fear surrounding the safety of the event, which meant a lot of US archers stayed home from the trip. Haven gotten a silver team medal at my first indoor world champs and an individual silver at my first outdoor world champs, I was pumped to head to Turkey to finally get my first world title.
Practice day went ok, and then the next day was right into qualification scoring. The recurve archers shot in the morning, and compounders shot in the afternoon (for seniors). This meant I was able to spend the morning getting work done, so when my coworkers woke up in the US, they would have all my stuff waiting for them.
Unfortunately, that afternoon wasn’t my day. I struggled all the way through qualification with my shot timing. Either my shot wouldn’t go off as quickly as usual, or it would go off too quick (before I was fully ready), resulting in me shooting an 8! Finally in the last couple ends of scoring, I suddenly remembered how to shoot, finishing with a 30, 30, 30.
Those of us without byes, went right into the 1/16th match after qualification, where I kept my rhythm and shot a 148 and won the match. I felt good knowing I had figured things out, and I was pumped for the next day to continue shooting well.
The schedule was the same for elimination day, so I brought my laptop to the field. I cheered on Team USA competitors, while I downloaded data and ran models for work. I took the field after lunch as the only remaining US female compound shooter left in the game. I won my first match in a very tight battle with my good friend, Natalia, from Russia.
Next up I had to shoot against Sarah Prieels, last year’s Vegas Champion. The winner was moving on to a medal match, while the loser would be done. At the point I was the only US compound shooter left, as all of our men had lost in the 1/8ths. This meant it was up to me to bring home a medal for our country.
I knew I was fully capable of beating Sarah, as I had just beat her head to head in the World Cup Finals in Vegas and that was BEFORE I had gotten my bow figured out. Unfortunately for me, I kept “just” missing the 10 ring. I can honestly say, I’ve never in my life had so many arrows so close to being in but not being in.
In the end she got me by a point, 146/145, so my individual journey was over with a 6th place finish. To say I was crushed would probably be an understatement. Not only had I let myself down, losing another opportunity to become a World Champion, but more importantly I had let my country down. By me losing, we would have no individual senior compound archers in the medal matches, which I felt terrible about.
I had to regroup for the next day, which was team round. I knew it was my job as the veteran on the team to motivate our team and get us into the finals. Because it was Mikey’s first international tournament, and I’ve traditionally struggled in team round, most of the other teams didn’t take us seriously. I knew we could use that to our advantage. First up was Ukraine, the reigning Outdoor World Champions. I didn’t tell my teammates this little fact, because I knew every team is beatable on a given day.
Brogan was our leadoff, which I always feel is the most important spot on the team. You need this person to put up a good shot, so the other team members can feel more relaxed, without the added pressure of thinking they HAVE to hit a 10 bc the first person didn’t. She had been a part of the US jr team that set the team world record in Nimes at the last indoor world championships, so I had full confidence she would get the job done in leadoff.
We worked great as a team in this first match, and our arrows landed well. We had decided to each shoot two arrows at a time vs rotating through the order twice, just to give everyone a little extra confidence, while also making sure we had plenty of time. This worked well and we won our match 232-225. This meant we were guaranteed a medal match! Now it was just a matter of whether we would be shooting for gold or bronze. Because of our low qualification seed, we had to face the #1 seed (extremely tough) Russian team at this point. All three of their team members have been around for years, each with multiple world medals and titles to their name.
In this match, we started “ok,” with the Russians having a tough second end. However, we never really got into a groove, and they did. I think they finished with a 60 and a 59 for the last two ends. That was more than enough to seal our fate, we would be shooting for bronze on Sunday. Being such an inexperienced team, I was honestly happy that we had made a medal match. I knew this would make all 3 of us better archers, because the only way to get better in these situations is to get more practice at them.
Recurve finals were Saturday, so we got the opportunity to see what the finals venue looked like, including the lighting during Brady’s match. It was a bummer we didn’t have more US archers in the finals, but it allowed me to get a lot of work done, which meant I could focus on just shooting my match the next day.
In the finals, you are required to each only shoot one arrow at a time. This meant we had to change from what we had been doing, so we practiced through multiple times. I personally knew we were probably going to have some issues with time. As the anchor, I knew it was my job to get a good shot off regardless of the time left on the clock. I made sure to practice coming to the line, nocking my arrow and shooting as quickly as I could to see realistically how much time I needed. I found 15 seconds was a safe bet, but I needed more than 10 (12-13 seemed to be the absolute quickest I could do it all).
We had to face the #2 seed Italy for this match. Their archers were all shooting very well this tournament, so I knew we needed our A game for this match. Brogan and Mikey both shot well, but they were definitely leaving me with little time each end. In fact, one end I realized I would be coming to the line with less than 15 seconds on the clock (ended up being 11). I was paranoid that I wouldn’t get the shot off in time, and I didn’t want to let me teammates down. I went as fast as I could, drew back and fired the shot with 1 sec on the clock. I was so happy I was able to get it off, so when I heard the announcer say 10 I wanted to jump in the air and rejoice!
In the end we lost by two, but I was proud of our team, and personally I felt great. This was the first team match I’ve ever shot in my career where I actually felt like I had done my best. I had shot 6 out of 8 possible 10s, and my second bull looked like there was only one hole in the target. Yes, I wish we could have won, but this was a huge milestone for me, as someone who has always struggled in team round settings.
Overall, my trip to Turkey was a disappointment, but I tried to keep my mind on the positives as I headed home. Some of my US teammates did have a good trip, with Brady earning another bronze medal and our jr compound women finishing in 2nd and 3rd! Also, it was supposed to be 70 degrees outside when I landed in Boston, so my plans were to shoot outside for the first time all year, how could you be upset about that!