FOLEY, Ala. – The University of the Cumberlands made it six wins in a row at the USA Archery Collegiate 3D Nationals at the end of a marathon day of exhilarating archery.
The Kentucky-based school won in Alabama, ahead of University of Pikeville and Lindsey Wilson College.
“I say to my archers, ‘it doesn’t get any easier’,” admitted head coach Kris Strebeck. “With success comes expectation and we also have a big target on our backs.”
From the morning individual class shoot-down to an afternoon of team rounds – both at the Graham Creek Nature Preserve – and finishing indoors at the Foley Event Center with the mixed equipment team rounds, the energy and volume rarely subsided.
The usual tranquility and greenery which is the hallmark of the Graham Creek Nature Preserve was transformed for a few hours on Saturday amid an explosion of chants, cheering and collegiate color.
First up was the individual class shoot-down, which brought together the top three archers from Friday’s two rounds of action in a quick-fire, high stakes competition.
Victory was claimed by T Sanchez (recurve men, Lindsey Wilson College), Riley Marx (Texas A&M University), Andrew Hubbs (compound men, Rend Lake College), Madison Cox (compound women, University of the Cumberlands), Tyler Woosley (barebow men, University of the Cumberlands), Maggie Brensinger (barebow women, University of Pikeville), Nate Harper (fixed pin men, University of Pikeville), Ela Smallacombe (fixed pin women, University of the Cumberlands).
The afternoon session outdoors consisted of the team rounds in a bracket format, culminating in medal matches.
University of the Cumberlands claimed gold in recurve women, barebow men, fixed pin men, fixed pin women and compound women.
Texas A&M took the honors in the recurve men; University of Pikeville claimed barebow women, while Lindsey Wilson College came out on top in compound men.
There was little respite before competition moved indoors for the mixed equipment team rounds. Each college team consisted of three archers, all from a different discipline. Over a raucous two-and-a-half hours, the bracket was reduced from 23 down to the final four, and included 10th-seeded William Carey University, who had seen off second seed University of Pikeville, triggering wild celebrations.
William Carey was defeated by Lindsey Wilson College in their semifinal 120-101. The other semifinal was much tighter, as University of the Cumberlands and Texas A&M endured an emotional rollercoaster in a back-and-forth encounter. After three lines of shooting, the scores were tied at 124-124. University of the Cumberlands cemented their spot in the gold medal match courtesy of more bonus rings.
That experience clearly stood them in good stead as nerves were again tested in the final against Lindsey Wilson College. This time, both teams scored 128 points and were tied on bonus rings. A shoot-off was required, with the trio of Madison Cox, Brandon Durham and Clay Weaver triumphing for Strebeck’s team.