2013 Lancaster Archery Classic-a recap

I’m definitely a person who likes to follow a schedule. I like to make lists, and I don’t like when plans change last minute. I am working on going more with the flow this year, and this past weekend was a great example of why I need to be more flexible and just enjoy life.

Thursday night I went to archery league as usual. I was excited bc my new BCY sting in pink and black was in, and I couldn’t wait to get it put on my bow. Driving there I mentioned I didn’t know what I was going to do on my day off the next day since the weather was supposed to be cold and crappy. R jokingly said, go to Lancaster. I brushed it off saying I can’t go, it’s too late to register.

Long story short after joking about going all evening, on the ride home I asked R if he honestly would go if he were me. He said yes and told me to sign up. I then realized I would need a hotel, etc so I chickened out. He then told me look up and see if any hampton inns were in the area (have points there from work travel) and sure enough their was and they were offering a reduced rate for the tournament. He said if they have rooms left, you are going. Sure enough they did, so I booked 2 nights and reserved my spot on the 4pm line (wanted to do 12:30 but didn’t want to rush and miss shooting if there was a lot of traffic getting there).

I left the house just after 5 and got to Lancaster, PA around 10:30 after hitting absolutely no traffic. The first person I saw when I walked in was Brady Ellison (2x Olympian and silver medalist this year). I picked up my registration packet and then thought, “now what?” I had all day until my shooting line, and I knew absolutely no one!

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I went down and decided to watch the end of the 9am line shoot. I had rearranged my meals/eating for the day knowing I’d be shooting from 4-6:30 (approx), which is when I normally eat dinner. I think decided to warm up a little in one of the practice ranges. This was my first cool experience of the weekend, a bunch of the pro/pros (their job is to shoot their bow) were also practicing, so I was shooting alongside some of the top names in the sport. I then watched some of the 12:30, then ate a late lunch and got my stuff ready to shoot.

I wanted to be in my range (there were multiple shooting areas over the weekend competition) at 3pm. This would give me some time to get completely setup, find my lane, and even get in some practice ends before the two unofficial practice ends at 4. I also had some caffeine about an hour before, and filled my second water bottle with a Nuun tab, to give me something extra for the second half. I thought I was all set and had everything planned out perfectly…

What I didn’t account for was any delays or changes to the schedule, my first rookie mistake. Because there were two locations for the 4pm line, the starting official was supposed to start the other group and then come and start us. Apparently there was a little bit of miscommunication because we stood there (having been stopped from shooting anymore “unofficial” practice ends) watching the clock tick 4, 4:10, 4:15, 4:30. It was around 4:35 that the official finally came over to get us started (and apologize for the delay). This meant we didn’t actually start shooting our 2 ends of practice until around 4:40/4:45.

By the time we started I was pretty wiped out. After getting up early, a long drive and lots of waiting around, my body was telling me it was time for a nap, not time to shoot. I got off to a bit of a slow start (shooting an 8 in the second end of scoring), but I slowly gained momentum as I “woke” myself back up. Although I knew I COULD shoot a score in the 620s (which would fingers crossed get me into the finals on Sunday), I had told myself I would be happy with a score of 600 or better. At the half way point, I was at 301 (meaning I was up one point essentially). I actually began to build on this in the second half, up as many as 4 points for that half (so 5 overall) before things just kind of fell apart.

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They were live streaming the event, so R was able to watch me from home!

After something like 5 or 6 straight ends of shooting 11,10,9 (lancaster uses different scoring then FITA/Olympic style competitions, with the center X ring counting as an 11 and the outer ring-normally a 9 for compound-as a 10), I shot a 9,9,10. This was then followed by another 8, a 9, and a 10 that just missed the 11 ring. I could feel my body getting tired at this point. My bow arm was beginning to shake when I held the bow out, and my release seemed to be taking longer and longer to go off. I ended up finishing without another 11, leaving me at a 298 for the half. This meant I had just missed my “I’ll be happy with” goal of 600, shooting a 599.

I was bummed out (having driven all the way there alone), but one of my scoring partners (a pro shooter for PSE) came up to me after we were finished and said I had done great for as short of time as I had been shooting. He told me I had the form (and the equipment), so now it was just a matter of putting in the time, but he said he knew I had a great future ahead of me. This really meant a lot to me, whether he was just being nice or not, the fact that he took the time to encourage me, spoke volumes.

Fast forward to Saturday. I watched the start of the 9am line before heading over to the warehouse for Reo’s seminar on trusting your shot. I wasn’t sure what to expect with a title like that, but it ended up being a great seminar for me, as his wife recently took up archery and he had gained a new perspective on things through working with her. The biggest thing I took away from the seminar was Reo’s absolute love for the sport and the people in it. I then headed back to the range to get some lunch and watch some of the top women who were shooting the 12:30 line.

I then headed upstairs to shoot for about an hour in the practice range, getting a chance to meet silver medalist Jake Kaminski and “save his life” when someone had pieces fly off when they went to shoot. From here I tried to make it back over for a seminar on setting up your sights, but I missed the first half due to shuttle problems. I got a couple helpful tips, but I think missing the beginning really hurt the value for me.

From that I headed back to do some shopping in the store (basically fulfilling “the list” R had sent me), and watch someone I knew from Hall’s warming up for the 4pm line. I then hopped back on the shuttle to make sure I got over to the women’s seminar in plenty of time (definitely didn’t want to miss that!). Turns out I didn’t have to worry, as the women were a little late arriving, with just finishing up their shooting line prior to the seminar. It was led by 4 of the top compound women, so I was looking forward to soaking up any information they shared with us. It ended up being a very informal clinic, with a lot of q&a and getting to know the women on a more person level. It ended up running over an hour over schedule, so we had to rush back to see the end of the 4pm line, which signaled the start of the pig roast (& door prizes).

The line was quite long for dinner, but they kept us entertained as we waited by throwing cheaper items into the crowd and raffling off the door prizes. I was blown away not only by the quality of the prizes they were giving away but the sheer number as well. Although I didn’t actually win anything myself, I managed to secure myself a couple hats, stickers and a tshirt (which I gave away). The food was excellent and there was enough for people to have seconds if they wanted. It was then time to announce who made the finals in each category. At this point, I was a little sad, knowing I would not be in the final, even though I would have loved to gain the experience of competing in a head to head match play.

From here it was back to the hotel, so I could get up early the next morning and watch the finals (starting at 7:30). I decided to start the morning watching the recurve final. Because their were so few competitors, they had combined the men’s and women’s into one, so I was happy to see at least one woman had made the top 16. There were some great match-ups, with a couple going wire to wire at the end. I did feel bad for one individual who was shooting great but only had 5 good arrows. Unfortunately, unlike the qualification round where you only shot 3 arrows at a time, you shot 6 during the final. It was at this point that I realized it was a good thing I didn’t make the final after all, as I only HAD 5 arrows (I had ripped the fletching off one during league on thurs, so it was back at home).

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I watch the two olympic silver medalists (brady and jake) battle it out in the 1-2 final, with Jake clearly more in the zone and taking the win. I then went back into the main range to watch the end of the men’s 32/16 rounds and then the much-anticipated women’s final. I made sure to get a front row seat, so I could really study the technique used by these top women. I was sad to see my favorite archer get knocked out in the round of 8, but overall there was good shooting all around by the women, making for some exciting match-ups. I decided not to stay for the men’s 8 final, as I wanted to get on the road, so I left as soon as the women’s winner was crowned.

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Overall, it was a great weekend, even though I was there alone. I met a lot of people, learned a lot and truly fell in love with archery. For anyone considering this event next year, here are just some of many benefits of participating in such as high-class/well run event:

-as a competitor you get a meal ticket which includes all your food free over the 3 days (drinks, snacks, meals, etc)
-valuable seminars
-top competition (but also people of all levels)
-high quality door prizes
-awesome volunteers
-supportive community
-swag bag
-multiple practice ranges so you can get in a lot of quality practice in over the 3 days
-and much more!

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Posted on January 30, 2013, in Archery and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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