Going into this tournament, I’ve had some weird couple of weeks. I was trying all different types of equipment, making changes, shot indoors for league, and generally I felt like my shots were better than they were scoring.
The day before I left, I still hadn’t settled on which setup I was shooting, so I took to social media for input (if you follow more than this blog you probably noticed). I shot Thursday morning with the bow I had selected before heading off to the airport. I arrived in Houston (after a pretty uneventful trip down), however, my luggage wasn’t so lucky. Instead of panicking like I have in the past that my bow had not arrived, I remained calm and knew I had time for it to show up before I NEEDED it.
Lucky for me, I had a really great airline employee helping me out and my stuff showed up on a later flight that evening. The downside was, although I now had my bow, it was almost 1am and I had a close to 2 hour drive into college station.
Practice day was pretty warm (especially coming from the North where we have had some cold days lately). I got to the field for the start of practice first thing in the morning, and I shot until it was time for lunch. After lunch, I headed back, where I shot a little more just to warm up for the team rounds. Dahlia, Lexi and I (all Mathews shooters) were shooting together again, and looking forward to improving on our 3rd place finish in SoCal.
We missed one of our official ends of team practice, due to the organizers not hanging targets on our bale, but we quickly got into a groove on the second practice end and then began scoring. Our first match got off to a rough start, however, with us not realizing it was time to score. This left us with a large deficit (6 points?) to start the match. Luckily, we got it together and took the lead in the final 2 ends to win the match. With only 4 teams, this put us right into the gold medal match, guaranteeing us to win a medal. We had a couple bad shots in this second match, but we lead the entire way, earning us a gold medal (and cash!).
After a long day in the sun, it was time to sit in some air conditioning and eat a good meal…followed by ice cream of course
Saturday was qualification day, and unfortunately, the women’s compound had been bumped to mid afternoon. This meant I had plenty of time to kill before heading to the field for the provided lunch. I attempted to sleep in, went and ate a real, home cooked breakfast, grabbed some fruit at Target and then packed everything up to head to the field. I got there in time to watch the end of qualification for everyone else, so I was able to get a good idea on how the wind was affecting people.
Around 2:15 we began practice, of which we got 45 minutes. We were lucky for Texas, and 1) it wasn’t scorching hot that afternoon and 2) there was some wind, but nothing like the wind this tournament is known for. I struggled for most of the day, early on I felt shaky and lightheaded, which made it difficult to properly hold my bow on the target. After eating some beef jerky, this eventually went away, but now I had shots that felt good not scoring well and shots that I knew were bad shots hitting in the X ring. In fact, I had my second highest X count of the year, even though I had my lowest overall score.
After some Rudy’s BBQ for dinner, it was time to head to bed early since eliminations started at 8am. I was confident that I could still win the tournament, even though I had qualified in 7th place. I had a bye the first round, which I used as extra practice, since we only had 2 ends before going right into matches. I was feeling better about my shots and new I just had to shoot my shot all day and not worry who my opponents were.
My first match went about as I had hoped. I had one “ok” end, but other than that I had shot well and advanced to the next round. At this point, I was matched against Erika, and we joked how we had to meet each other earlier than usual. I knew if I shot my shot, I could win and my route to the gold shouldn’t be too bad (she had qualified 2nd).
The match started very close, with her up 60 to my 59, and I was feeling good. However, in the 3rd end I shot what I believed to be a beautiful shot. I looked into my spotting scope and it was a left 7 (wind was blowing right to left)! I thought wow, the wind picked up much more than I realized, so I adjusted and shot another good shot, which landed in the 8 ring…right. Down 5 points in 2 arrows, I knew my day was going to be over, as she is not someone you can drop that many points against and expect to win.
I reminded myself that anything can happen, as I just witnessed, so I finished up with two more ends of 29 (beating her each of those individual ends). In the end, she beat me by 4 points, which is obviously a lot in match play, but I wasn’t upset. I knew I had made good shots, I just got tricked by the wind. With that I was done, a 6th place finish, which was disappointing, but I had to remind myself you can’t podium every tournament.
And with that it is now time to setup my equipment for indoors, as in exactly one month I will be headed off to Morocco again for the 1st World Cup of the year.