This past weekend, our team of competitive archers headed out to Cedar City, Utah for the 2013 United States Intercollegiate Archery Championships (USIAC, for short!), held at Southern Utah University (SUU).
Competitors Jessica Chen, Scott MacDonald, and Quin Kaku were joined by our coach Jeep Hauser early in the morning on Thursday, May 16 to make the 6.5 hour drive in time for official practice that afternoon. While driving through Las Vegas, just North of the strip, our crew had quite an adventure when Jeep’s tire blew out on the highway! The team stopped by a car shop to get Jeep’s tires changed and to check on Scott’s A/C, which regrettably no longer blew cold air on the long hot drive. By eating lunch during the fix and check-up, the team made it to Cedar City in 8 hours, arriving at official practice at 3pm. The team was surprised at losing an hour once they entered Utah due to a time zone change, although this still left them a solid hour to get checked in, equipment inspection, and some practice in.
The opening ceremony was quite uneventful and surprisingly quick, although this gave our competitors time to check into the Best Western hotel and settle in before the BBQ for dinner. The BBQ featured a simple chicken dinner hosted by a local church group and there was a skeet shooting and a lassoing station, along with a rescued eagle for show, as entertainment. Otherwise, it was an early night in a luxurious (relative to the usual Motel 6) hotel room in preparation for shooting the next day.
Friday, May 17 was the first day of official shooting, featuring a 72-arrow qualifying round. The day started early with a complimentary breakfast at the hotel to prepare our archers for the long day ahead of them. Contrasting with the previous day, this first day of competition featured a chilly day filled with clouds followed with fickle 30 mph winds. Unused to these drastic conditions, our archers showed up in merely shirts and shorts and had some difficulties adjusting to the constantly changing winds. The wind was so strong that the tournament was delayed for a while when numerous targets were blown over by the wind! After changing to pants and treating themselves to some hot chocolate, the team finally brought back their game to finish off strong on the first day. The team made a shopping trip to Sports Authority to purchase some much-needed under armour afterwards (while the compounds and bowhunter divisions shot).
Mixed teams followed the first qualifying round. Jessica Chen and Quin Kaku represented USC Archery. The first match was against ACCC, and while we shot well during the first couple of practice ends, we eventually lost to ACCC 3-5. This loss, however, allowed our team to eat a relaxed dinner at Ninja, a Japanese Steakhouse that did not feature steak but instead had delicious udon and yakisoba.
Saturday, May 18 was the second day of official shooting, featuring the second 72-arrow qualifying round. Since the compound and bowhunter divisions switched time places with the recurve division on the second day, our team had a relaxing morning before heading to Walmart to grab some lunch before shooting. The second day’s qualifying round arranged archers according to their ranking in the first qualifying round. The weather was surprisingly nice early in the morning for the compound and bowhunter division, but unfortunately turned a bit sour as soon as the recurve division entered the field. During one end, a thunderstorm headed towards the field and rained down on all the archers, but thankfully passed by without too much trouble. The wind was a bit more calm during the second shooting day, so many archers experienced a rise in their scores, although some reported to concentrate better the previous day. With the combined qualifying 144-round, Quin placed 16th with a score of 1044 and Scott placed 44th with a score of 821 in the Mens Recurve division while Jessica placed 20th with a score of 806 in the Womens Recurve division.
After the second qualifying round was team rounds. Our Men’s Recurve team featured our three archers (Quin, Scott, and Jessica). Our team first faced Dine College, who gave us a run for the gold in the first two ends. Our team pulled through and won their first team match 4-3. The second team round match was against Texas A&M, who had a superb team. Although we put up a strong fight, Texas A&M demolished everyone in the bracket, and eventually placed first in this event, and defeated us 15-4.
Our team relaxed with another scrumptious dinner at Rusty’s Ranch House, a quaint restaurant located in the canyon, before retiring for another early night. The team also picked up a local newspaper, which featured Quin’s picture on the front page, although hilariously mislabeled. Quin is famous!
Sunday, May 19 was the last day of USIAC. The team woke up extremely early to head out onto the field (surprise – we were the first ones there!) for a 7am start to the OR eliminations. The sprinklers were always left on overnight, so the team enjoyed some frost-covered grass for a bit before huddling in the cars to warm up a bit. Mens Recurve shot their 1/32nd rounds first. Scott went against a competitor with half of Scott’s ranking – although he shot better than the previous two days, Scott was unfortunately eliminated. Quin and Jessica were paired against more manageable opponents and passed onto the next round. In the 1/16th round, Jessica surprisingly overthrew the archer in rank 13 from Texas A&M, while Quin fought well and eventually eliminated his opponent as well. Both Jessica and Quin were pitted against top archers in the 1/8th round and were unfortunately eliminated. Fortunately for the whole team, this early elimination allowed them to eat a filling lunch at Cafe Rio’s, a Mexican restaurant that the team decided would be competitive against Chipotle if brought to the Los Angeles area.
The team then enjoyed a relaxing afternoon by watching Iron Man 3 together and then went back to the hotel to rest and prepare for the banquet. The banquet was quite nice and featured a mouthwatering raspberry cheesecake, presented at each table from the start of the meal, for everyone to stare at for the remainder of the meal and to finally enjoy after the main course (of chicken, of course). The awards ceremony was a bit lengthy, but went relatively smoothly compared to the rest of competition. Quin was awarded Academic All-American, so everyone should congratulate him! Jessica and Scott shot better than last year so they deserve some props as well!
And thus concluded our team’s last outdoor competition of the season. Our team sent one more archer to USIAC compared to last year, shot strongly during the capricious and vicious winds, made a couple of friends from various schools around the country, and gained a lot of experience from this competition. Check out pictures when they are posted to get a sense of what the competition was like, and have a great summer and see you in the fall!