Having two tournaments back to back means I am a little behind on things, so this blog post will be pretty short with just the basics. As much as I loved shooting field with my compound, last year I decided it was best to stick to target archery so I could learn the basics of recurve before adding in the complexities of field shooting. This year being a World Field Championship year, I was really torn on what to do. I really wanted to shoot field, but our field nationals was the week before SoCal, which I knew was an important tournament for me after the first two of the year haven’t been any glaring successes. I went back and forth on whether to go, but the lure of making another World Championship team AND my husband pushing me to go was enough to get me to sign up
US field nationals were held in Darrington, WA this year. This is a course I have heard tons about, and I’ve always wanted to shoot. Once I arrived, I realized it was even prettier in person than I realized from all the pictures I’d seen.
-Practice Day: Time to dial in the sight marks. Man, is it beautiful in Darrington, WA. I remember why (and how much) I love field archery! There really is nothing like it, and I’ve definitely missed this since switching to recurve. I’m really happy R talked me into participating this year. After making sure I have solid marks, it’s into the woods to shoot a mini practice course with some friends. We treat it like an unmarked course, ranging after we all have shot the target to see how close we were. I didn’t have all my sight marks (just enough to plug into Perfect Markings and make educated guesses). Through the first 5 targets or so, I had won the closest to center every target. We only shot one arrow at each to keep things moving, so that was our way of keeping it fun and exciting.
-Day 1: Unmarked Day.
I arrived with my complete set of sight marks and the first target I shot on the practice field that morning was a 50M target and I hit above the target (on the bale) high. I then shot 20, which was perfect. I realized I had messed something up and my marks were all off. With not much time (and no computer) before heading out, I quickly did some math in my head and came up with a solution that would get me close. 20 and under marks were fine. Anything above 25, I would subtract 10%. I just hoped that would be good enough. I also had two simple goals: don’t miss the bail (and lose/break a tournament arrow) and second to not misface any targets when judging (60 vs 80). Goal #1 was achieved, but I did overthink things and misface a target (I convinced myself a 60 couldn’t possibly be a 60, even though that was my gut instinct). I did miss 3 targets (including the one misface), but they all hit the bale, so I wasn’t too upset. The biggest regret of the entire day was my last target of the day. A simple bunny target. I was up first on right hand side, meaning I should have shot the C targets. I unfortunately was already mentally checked out at this point, so I wasn’t paying attention enough and shot into the D targets. Lesson learned: the round isn’t over until you are walking off the course.
Day 2: Marked Day.
This means no more guessing on yardage, but there are still angles and the shots are longer 5M longer at each target size. I was sitting in 3rd thanks to my stupid mistakes the day before, so I knew I had ground to make up to make sure I got a podium spot for Nationals. The top 4 girls shot all together as the lead bale, and I struggled early on trying to find my groove. Finally with about 5 targets to go I told myself to pull it together and stop trying to be so perfect. Just shoot! That worked, as I closed a 7 point gap to 2nd and took the lead on 3rd by 3 points. This earned me my one millionth National Championship Silver Medal, but my first with a recurve, so it definitely meant more.
Day 3: Today is team trials day, and the top 8 in each division get to battle it out for the coveted 3 spot to head to Italy this fall to represent Team USA at Worlds.
THIS was the entire reason I had gone to this tournament this year since the timing wasn’t great, and I wasn’t about to let myself drop from 2nd to 4th. My strategy for the day was just to shoot and not do anything stupid (miss-set sight, shoot wrong target, etc). I knew as long as I could do that, I would hold on to a top 3 finish. I shot straight 4s for the first 2 targets and then on the 3rd target of the day I ruined my streak by shooting a 6…bummer 😉 I did lose some points during the 8 targets, but I was sitting in solid shape. We then cut to the top 4 and had to shoot 4 more targets. Again, looking at the point spread, I knew I just had to avoid huge mistakes, and I would be fine. I ended up shooting very well on these 4 (highest score out of the 4 of us!), including getting a perfect 18 on the bunny. This solidified my spot on the World Champs team, and I ended up with another 2nd place finish.
*Special thanks to Sarah at USA Archery for the photos out on the course since all phones and cameras are banned for competitors!