Last year, we had World Champs team trials in early December, and all the years before that I had Indoor World Cups in November and December. This was the first year I had no indoor tournaments (with the exception of local things) until the Lancaster Classic.
I’m going to be brutally honest here. The last few months have been a pretty big struggle for me. After taking (and passing!) my level 4 coaching course at the beginning of November, I’ve had one thing after another getting in the way of my training. First, I was catching up at work. Then I had to have a minor surgery. Then it was Christmas, and I had to have another minor surgery. This time I tried to start shooting too soon and ripped out some of my stitches.
My scores were definitely reflective of this, as I was shooting the worst I had since I first picked up a recurve. As much as I always enjoy the Lancaster tournament, I really wasn’t looking forward to it, especially when I saw our class had grown again in size. I knew making the cut (8) would be extremely difficult considering how I was shooting, but I WAS looking forward to seeing all my archery friends that I had missed since outdoor season.
Lucky for me (and the rest of my class), Rob and his crew at LAS decided shortly before the tournament to extend our cut to 16 due to the large growth in our class size. This made me feel a little better, as I was confident I could make top 16 and at least get to shoot a single match (matches are my favorite part).
I drove down Thursday after work (yep, I can actually drive to this tournament!), shot a few arrows in the basement of the LAS showroom (where else can you shoot with tv monitors to spot your arrows!), and went to bed early so I’d be ready for the next morning. As many of you know, I like to get up and shoot first thing in the morning. I don’t like waiting around to shoot, so I had signed up for the 8am line time.
I had shortened my draw length about 1/2″ (that’s a lot!) in the days leading up to the tournament, so I had been struggling with consistent timing and not pulling through my clicker too soon. I was pleasantly surprised that once I started scoring, my timing and consistency were greatly improved. I didn’t shoot great, but I was only 1 point different between my two halves. I was about 9 points lower than last year, but it was actually better than where I was expecting to be. I had slightly out-shot my practice scores (when converting my score to normal outer 10 recurve scoring), so I had to be happy with that.
I ended up qualifying in 9th, so I was again thanking my lucky stars they had extended the cut to 16! My first match I shot really well, but my opponent was shooting lights out. With no set system and only four ends, I knew I had to keep battling because every arrow mattered. Going in to the final end, she had a three point lead on me. I was bummed because I had shot by far the best I’d shot in a long time, and yet I was going to lose the match and be done for the weekend.
I was shooting next to Crispin, and I remember him getting mad at himself or saying something about how he was glad he didn’t actually have an opponent that match (his didn’t show up). Hearing a top male shooter behind me talking while I was on the line some how transported me back to the days when I was the top female compound qualifier during our team trials round robins (both indoor and outdoor), as I would stay in the same spot throughout the round as the girls (and guys behind me) rotated through. It was like I had all the confidence in the world, and I knew I was going to win even with the three point deficit.
Lucky for me, we score 11s in the tournament, so coming back from three points was possible. Not only did I catch up, but I ended up winning the match by two points! I had the 4th highest score on the field, getting beat only by two Olympians and Casey! I was shocked, but happy to move on and get to shoot another match, especially since it was against Casey, who is shooting lights out right now.
As soon as I told people I was shooting against Casey, I’d get the pity look, the “I’m sorry,” etc. I was always surprised by this, and I told them I was excited to shoot against her again. I can’t say my track record is great against her, but I always want to shoot against the best archers. It’s the only way I feel that I am going to improve. I want to win because I earned it, not because I had it easy.
We entered our match, and I shot a decent first end and took a quick lead. I knew I would have to shoot better to win the match, as she had shot uncharacteristic that first end. The second end, she was back to herself, dropping just one 11 and quickly gaining back the lead. The third end, I had a few hiccups, but I followed that end up with a strong 31 to end the match. Although I lost, I was very happy with how I shot (minus one end) during the matches. I was starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel AND by finishing on Saturday morning, it meant I could get started on my Vegas prep a day early!
By far the best part of the weekend was seeing everyone. I hadn’t realized how much I had missed everyone until I saw person after person that I hadn’t seen in months! I was really lucky too, because I even got to go home with some special goodies; positive energy stickers for my new recurve and my Vegas bow, a new gua sha tool, and yummy lemon/rum cake (was so good, it was gone before I remembered to take a picture)! Thanks friends!