I headed straight to Dublin, Ireland from WC Finals in Denmark. I got there just in time for practice, which I knew I needed to take full advantage of. This was not only my first ever World Field Championships, but it was only the 3rd time in my career I was shooting Fita Field (once at US Nationals last year and once at this year’s Nationals/trials). I had taken time before our trials to work on my judging for the unmarked day, and I felt like it paid off with my doing well.
As I said in my last post, I had taken ZERO time to prepare for World Field, so I had to hope that the practice I had done late Spring would come back to me during my two days of practice in Ireland. Early on the first day, I realized my sight tape wasn’t good. I had expected it to maybe need a slight adjustment, but I was getting really weird things happening at the various distances, so I decided I had the time, I was just going to get new marks and get a new tape. The day was calm, with not much wind, so I felt good with the 5 marks I had gotten (5, 10, 20, 40 ,60). I headed back to the hotel to input them into the program I use, Perfect Markings (if you don’t use this program you should!). The one thing I love about Perfect Markings is it told me at least one of my marks was wrong before I wasted time printing tapes and/or mark charts.
I really had no clue which mark was wrong, as I was confident I had written them all down correctly, so I knew I had no choice but to go back and repeat in the morning during the final practice session. Unfortunately, the next day was quite windy and the practice range was in a big open field with no shelter from the wind. I knew I needed to get my marks, so I had to be smart about when I shot and make good shots when I did. I had just gotten the final mark I needed, when I went to check to make sure one of my other marks was correct (knew this was my last opportunity to get them all right, so wanted to double check). I shot and hit about a foot high at 40 yards…what???
After verifying my sight was set on the correct setting, I started looking at everything and that’s when I noticed my scope housing. It was angled instead of being level. Upon further inspection, I realized that the plastic where the screw went into the scope housing was shattered. This meant I could easily turn my scope up or down and clearly it was moving when I was shooting. Now what, I thought. Luckily for me I had some teammates willing to help me get set back up bc for a few minutes my mind went blank as I just went into full blown panic mode. Dave took the time to help me, which was great because he was calm and helped me think through my options. He ended up using my back up scope housing, but my current screw (needed one long enough if I wanted to use the same sight) and my current lens. Then Jesse (who had a hamskea with him) helped me get all 3 of my axis’ leveled again, so I’d be ready to go.
At this point, I then had to go out and get new marks AGAIN in the crazy gusting wind. I tried to do this quickly, but I knew I needed to be accurate so it ended up taking the rest of the practice time I had available. This meant I would hopefully have working equipment and sight marks, but I had gotten NO time to practice field. I didn’t have an opportunity to work on ranging targets, so I had to hope I could do well enough to get by on unmarked day.
So to say my unmarked round was a disaster would probably be an understatement. I misfaced many 60/80cm targets (meaning I was off about 10 meters in my judging), which resulted in some misses. Added to that, the few targets I did get a 6 on the first arrow, I tended to follow that up with a 4! I just felt completely out of my element, and I wanted to be frustrated and mad. The problem was I knew I deserved it. I hadn’t put in the time, and I was now paying for it. If you don’t practice something (especially something you are new at), you can’t expect to perform well, especially on the big stage. I finished the day roughly 5th from last place in my division. I knew there was a very small chance I could still make the cut (top 16) if I had a great day the following day. Making the cut was my primary goal for the tournament being my first time, and more importantly, the scores reset after making the cut, so I knew it would be my chance at redemption if I could do it.
The next day didn’t go a whole lot better for me though. I had some great targets, and I had some horrible targets. My group hit some of the tough targets at probably the worst possible point in the day (sun glare in your eyes, non relenting wind gusts, etc) and we shot in woods so thick that there were multiple targets where I couldn’t even see my aiming dot or ring. Yes, this is field and again I should have been more prepared. I wasn’t, and I paid for it dearly. In the end I managed to move up a decent amount as others had a tough second day, but it wasn’t enough. I finished 18th, missing the cut for only the second time in my career!
This was VERY hard to swallow. The first cut I missed was in January of 2013 at my first real tournament, the Lancaster Classic. I had signed up the night before, made the drive to Pennsylvania and shot that same day, not really knowing what I was doing (I only had brought 5 arrows with me and if you made the cut, you had to shoot ends of 6 arrows instead of the normal 3 indoors)…notice any similarities? When I’m not prepared and try to wing it, things don’t work out so well. I knew that and could understand that, but all I could think about is I had let the team down (and those women who tried out for the team and didn’t make it in the US). This wasn’t how I wanted to finish my season, and most importantly this isn’t how I wanted to end my career. I truly felt embarrassed. Here I was the #2 ranked female in the world and I couldn’t even make the cut. That’s what people are going to remember. After all my hard work to get to where I was the last few years, they are going to think I never really was any good.
I was fortunate that I had a couple people want to shoot in the mixed team event with me (you could mix and match ages and countries since it was a test event). I ended up teaming up with one of the US’s jr men who had had a really rough tournament (equipment failure followed up by a fall down a hill and more broken equipment). I think it speaks volumes to his character that he even finished the round! The compound mixed team event was pool play. You were put in either an A or B pool, shot against the other teams and the top 2 teams came out of each pool for the semi finals. Braeden and I won all our matches in our pool, so we moved to the semi finals. We had been a great team all morning, with me getting points on targets he struggled a little on and him getting full points on ones I dropped points at.
We ended up tying our semi final match against some friends from Canada, so it was time for a one arrow shootoff. Each team would shoot two arrows (one arrow each) at 60 meters. All 4 of us made great shots, and the judge couldn’t believe it when she saw our target. All four of our arrows were touching, just below the middle. She made the comment that she’d probably never see that again in her years of judging, so we should probably get a picture. Fiona’s arrow was the closest, so we took home the bronze, while Canada got to go for Gold (and they won!). All in all, I think everyone who participated in the mixed team test event had a great time, and I hope it does get added in to future World Field Championships as an official event.
I will say the courses we shot on were absolutely stunning. There were so many times I went to reach in my quiver for my phone to take a picture before I remembered I didn’t have it (cameras, phones and all electronic devices are banned on all courses). Huge thanks to Dean and the other photographers for this event for getting some of the pictures we couldn’t! Although I personally didn’t perform well, the US had their best result at a World Field Championship with over 10 medals and multiple World Champion’s crowned (Brady, Sophia, and Steve)! I thoroughly enjoyed meeting new woman that I’ve never gotten to shoot with before. Ultimately, I loved just being out in nature, shooting my bow.