New England’s: A Recap
After a somewhat disappointing indoor nationals, I decided to do one last indoor tournament before kicking off my outdoor season in AZ at the beginning of April. This tournament was the 49th Annual New England Indoor Open Archery Championship: The oldest major archery event in New England (and yes here in NE we are a little backwards, the region tournament came AFTER nationals).
I had already switched my equipment over to my outdoor setup, as I have been practicing outside (as much as possible with the nasty weather we have continued to have). Even when I shot indoors I was using my outdoor arrows, and I have been working on getting the bow tuned up with the arrows. So originally my plan was to just go ahead and shoot my outdoor setup. I knew I probably wouldn’t have much competition to worry about, so I figured I would be fine.
R and the guys at the archery range decided to start harassing me, however. By winning New England’s you get a really nice “cup” trophy that looks like a mini version of what is given out at world cups and other big events. I kept saying the only reason I was doing the tournament was bc I wanted this cup. So leading up the tournament, they all began joking about this top girl or that girl coming and shooting against me. They were even going as far as recruiting women to shoot against me, so I wouldn’t win the cup.
At this point, it was suggested I switch back to my indoor arrows (much bigger diameter for breaking lines) if I wanted to make sure I won. I was hesitant, as I really didn’t want to switch back my setups. The night before the tournament, though, “my coach” challenged me to a shoot off. He was using huge 27 diameter arrows, while I was using tiny outdoor arrows. It was obvious that I won looking at the groups, but he beat me by 2 points due to the size of his arrows.
This definitely got me thinking, and I battled with my decision all night. Finally, a friend (and 5 x olympian) suggested I just switch out the blade on my rest (where the arrow sits), which just requires a multi tool to loosen the bolt. This would be a quick fix, and I could use my indoor arrows. No they wouldn’t be “perfectly” tuned, but they would be fine for the purposes. I decided the next day to take his advice after R reminded me that I would be pretty ticked off if I lost by just a point or something using my tiny outdoor arrows.
I made the change, headed to the range and knew I needed to get a couple of arrows off, so I could figure out how much I needed to move my sight. You only get 2 practice ends in a tournament, and I wasn’t sure how far I would need to move my sight, since I had switched arrows. I managed to get a good estimate, but I felt like I was rushing around in a panic, since it had taken me way longer then expected to get there. Then a piece of the latch on my bow case came flying out in pieces, which just stressed me out more.
It was time for the start of the tournament, so I tried to just relax and forget about all the stress I had lately. My first practice end was not too pretty, as I was fine tuning my sight adjustments, but on my second practice end I shot a perfect 30. The shots hadn’t felt particularly amazing, so I was feeling good going into the scoring rounds.
As we progressed through the first 10 scoring ends, I knew I was doing pretty well, but didn’t think it was anything great. I had one awful shot and was so mad when I realized it was an 8. Lucky for me, I at least had a 10,9 with the 8, so I still had a score of 27 for the end (and it was my only one of the night). At the half way point I found out I had shot a 287 (at first I thought it was a 278, esp since I shot an 8), which is only 1 or 2 points below my highest ever 300 score.
I didn’t really think about my score the rest of the tournament and just tried to relax and have a good time. I joked with my bale mates, as none of us were taking things too seriously. We focused when it was our turn to shoot, but then we just had fun the rest of the time. Apparently this had a great effect on my shooting, as the second half I scored a 288, one point ABOVE my first half score. This left me with a 575 for the tournament, which I was pretty excited about. I knew I had locked up the cup, but more importantly I had shot a personal best 600 score.
I came home and decided to see where that score would have put me at nationals, as I felt it was much more representative of what I had been shooting in the week leading up to nationals. Turns out, doubling my score (since nationals was a 2 day event) would have put me in 6th place for the country (3 points behind 5th and 14 ahead of 6th). This was definitely the reaffirmation I needed for myself and my abilities. It confirmed what I thought I knew, and it make me that much more hungry to make the national team.