Holding my own in a sea of talent
My whole goal for the World Games was to just make it to team tryout day. The top 8 men and women compound archers from the Texas Shootout qualification day, would be invited to the tryout day, with lower slots filling in for any that turned down the opportunity. The 8 chosen archers would all compete in a round robin day of shooting one elimination match against each of the other 7 competitors in respected class (men or women).
Only the top two would be selected for a spot on the World Games team representing the US in Colombia. I knew top 2 was not a realistic goal at this stage of my archery career, so making the top 8 would guarantee me the added experience of getting to shoot against some of the top archers in the US (and even the world).
As it turned out, one of the top 8 declined their spot, so the 9th ranked woman from qual day also got to participate. This meant I was the #7, and theoretically meant I should at least win one match. My goal was to focus on my score and my shooting and not pay attention to the number of matches I was winning.
My first match up was against Sarah Lance, who was the #2. The wind was pretty light and as it was early am, I was ready to go. I started with a bang, shooting a perfect 30 on the first end (the only one on the field), giving me an early lead. I continued to shoot well, but I had an 8 in the 4th end, opening the door for Sarah to take back the lead. I held even with her in the 5th end and on the sixth shot another perfect 30 to finish at 143 (my highest elimination score yet). Unfortunately, she shot a 29, giving her a 144 and a 1 point victory over me. This was a tough loss knowing I had 1)shot a personal best and 2)had the second highest score on the entire field, but again I had to remember the positives and move on from there.
My next opponent was Erika Jones, a gazillion time world champion, who I hope to shoot as well as some day. I was a little intimidated getting to shoot with her, but I also knew I had beat her with our scores from the first match. She shot two perfect 30s to start the match, so even with 29s I was already 2 points down. I finished with a 140 and another loss, but I was excited when Erika said I was shooting really well (and I could tell she meant it).
My next match against Carlie Cochran (team usa world cup member) was somewhat of a disaster, shooting just a 133. I had at least one 8 in every end of 3 and just couldn’t seem to put it together, NOTHING felt right. I figured everyone was bound to at least one bad match, so I just focused on throwing it out of my mind. Next up for me was Tristan Skarvan, who had won 2nd place for the tournament the day before. I had 3 losses and no wins at this points, so again I had to remind myself of my goals. I wasn’t trying to win, I was gaining experience and focusing on making good quality shots.
The wind was picking up a little bit more now (though nothing like qualification day), but I managed to shoot another 140 AND take the win! Now I was ecstatic knowing that I at least had one win, so I wouldn’t be the only winless competitor that day. This gave me confidence going into my match against Mackenzie Kieborz (the #8), whom I’d shot on the same bale with during qualifications. I knew she was beatable, and I started with a lead, however, I fell apart 1/3 way through the match, giving her an easy win 139-134. I was bummed, but knew I still had 2 more matches against top ranked opponents.
I learned a big lesson in my next match against Diane Watson (world cup champion). She had a 5 point advantage over me after just 2 ends, so I knew the match was over. Not because I was shooting bad, but because she was shooting lights out, and I knew there was no way to come back from a 5 point deficit after just 2 ends. Boy was I wrong! On the next end I shot a 29, and she shot a 26 (with a 6), knocking her lead to just 2. Next end, I believe I shot a 28 and she shot 23, giving me a good lead. Knowing how easy it was for the tides to turn, I tried to remain focused for the final end, knowing if I just shot good shots, there was no way she could take the lead back from me. I finished with an 10,9,9, giving me a score of 139 and the win.
It was now time for my final match up against Christie Colin, another multiple time world cup champion. Previously, I had written this match off as a guaranteed loss, but after my last match, I realized anything is possible in match play. We both had strong starts, but after 2 ends, I had a 1 point advantage. The wind got funky in the 3rd end, giving us both fits, but I managed a 27 (10,9,8) expanding my lead. Again, I tried to focus on just making good shots and not focusing on the fact that I was winning against Christie, and my last two ends were 29s, giving me a decent margin of victory.
I couldn’t have been happier with the way the day ended, even though I finished in 7th right where I started (and lost my first match with the 2nd highest score on the field). I knew that with the exception of two of my matches I had shot well, I had a new personal best in elimination rounds, and I beat 3 top ranked archers. This gives me the confidence to know that I am close. I can compete against the world’s best, and I just need to focus on each shot and making sure my bad shots don’t happen (or less frequently). If I can do that, the sky is the limit!