Finally earned a belt buckle!
Finally earned a belt buckle!

Finally earned a belt buckle!

Ever since I started in archery, I’ve wanted to win a belt buckle. Unfortunately, I’m not in the “right” side of archery to have a regular opportunity at one. Target shoots very rarely give out belt buckles. The one exception is at So Cal every year, where the winner in each division receives one. The year I came in second there, I didn’t find this out until after the match, which made the loss that much worse!

Florida weather definitely doesn’t suit me. It is always very warm and especially high humidity. This tends to leave me feeling run down and exhausted, even if I am fully rested. This year was no different, with the exception that my body was pretty run down after a long month on the road, followed by a couple days at home (where I spent the bulk of my time in the office catching up at work).


I flew in Thursday and headed straight to the field for practice. I was glad I had brought my cooling vest (full review on this later), but even with that it was hard to find the motivation to practice much. There had been a last-minute change to the schedule, which meant compound would be shooting everything except medal matches in one day (qualification in the morning, followed by eliminations in the afternoon).

Friday I was up early and ready to go shoot. When I arrived at the field, it wasn’t unbearably hot yet, but the air was thick with humidity. I tend to feel weak or shaky in this type of weather, but this time I felt nauseous. After 3 ends of practice we started scoring. I opened with a solid end, followed up by a 54 (two 8s, two 9s, two 10s)! Hmmm, I thought. I hope that’s not an indication of how the day was going to go.

I slowly got into a rhythm. I definitely had some misreads in the tricky wind, but I also just made some bad shots. I shot a 348 for the first half and a 345 for the second. This managed to place me in 1st after qualification, which I was pretty pumped about. I knew I hadn’t shot my best, so to come out on top felt good. We had a break for lunch, and then eliminations would pick up.


I got some food and sat in the air conditioning during the break. The sun was now out in full force, and I knew it was time to break out the cooling vest for the afternoon. Again, my stomach didn’t feel too great, so I tried to keep drinking water (especially with Nuun added) thinking maybe I was just dehydrated.

I had a bye for my first match, so instead of shooting the 3 ends of practice, I just decided to shoot the 5 ends during my bye. Wow, what a struggle! It was like there was a reverse magnet in the 10 ring, repelling my arrows. I was shooting 8s and 9s and very few 10s during these 5 ends. I felt pretty good, but my arrows were spraying the target. I was a little worried to start scoring, but I told myself not to panic.

In my first match, I felt like I was shooting solid and they were staying in the yellow, but I still wasn’t catching as many 10s as I would expect. I ended up with a 144, which was enough for the win. I knew my next match I would have to shoot better in order to get the win, but I was worn down. I tried to make good solid shots, but I just kept circling the 10 ring; out left, out right, out low…ughhh! Talk about frustrating!


As it turns out, Lexi struggled during this match as well. Going into the last end I had a two point lead. However, I finished 9,9,9 to her 10,10,9, so we had to go to a one arrow shootoff.

Sidenote: Don’t jinx yourself! Before our match we were talking about how I had never lost a shootoff until last year. I lost to Lexi in team trials, with both of us shooting an X. I said well, at least I’ve still only shot 10s (or Xs) in shootoffs.

So we line up for our shootoff, I wait until I am confident I am able to read the wind. I then make a good strong shot, feeling confident in it being another 10 at least. I then hear she has won the shootoff, so I assume she just shot a closer 10. As we walk down, I learn my arrow was actually just out of the 10 ring low (hers had just caught the line). Dang, now I can’t say I’ve only shot 10s in shootoffs!


I was pretty bummed getting knocked out in the 1/8ths because I knew that would hurt my USAT ranking pretty bad, after a poor AZ Cup and not being able to make it to So Cal because of work responsibilities this year. More than losing, I just felt wiped out. It had been a long day, but an even longer month.

I honestly feel like my results would have been different if compound archers would have gotten to shoot eliminations on Saturday (just like the recurve archers). For me, it was just too much in one day, especially in the weather. Normally, I am the person who is all for scoring more arrows because I feel like the top shooters rise to the top in that situation, however, I reached my limit. With all the traveling I had done, my arrow count per day/week was much lower than it typically would be, causing me to simply run out steam.


This is in no way me trying to make excuses for losing, I’m simply stating the obvious. The time away from home and on the road caught up with me, and I wasn’t able to perform up to my potential. I took 10 minutes to be upset with my poor performance, but then I had a friend buy me a snow cone and I reminded myself what a great month of May I had. No one can perform up to their potential at EVERY single tournament. You need the downs to remind you that we are all human. Yes, I am disappointed that I most likely won’t rank very well in the US this year, but I am the #2 ranked archer in the World AND I have already clinched my spot in this year’s World Cup Finals. At the end of the day, that means much more to me than a top US ranking.

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