HARRISONBURG, VA. - Dramatic does not even begin to describe what occurred in the finals of the team round for Columbia's recurve trio at the 2011 United States Intercollegiate Archery Championships. On Saturday, May 21, in a back and forth affair against rival Texas A&M, the Lions pulled out a thrilling 10-9 win over the Aggies to claim the National Championship title in the recurve division. This marked the first national title for the Lions since 2008.
The trio of Sarah Chai, Anna Harrington and Marilyn He opened the first round of the tournament with a convincing 11-1 win over Atlantic Cape Community College. Up next Columbia edged U.C. Berkeley in the semifinals to advance to the championship finals against Texas A&M for the fourth consecutive year.
It was a tight battle from the beginning, with the Aggies holding a slim 3-2 lead after the first end. But the Lions stayed composed and battled their way back in the second end, as all three archers put their two shots in the gold, picking up six points and taking an 8-6 lead.
In the third end A&M cut their deficit to one after outscoring the Lions 3-2, and set the stage for a dramatic final round.
Columbia missed all six of their shots, and it appeared as though A&M's two-time Olympian Jenny Nichols made the lone shot of the round to tie the match at 10-10. However, upon further review, a judge ruled that the shot was out, resulting in the Lions holding on for a thrilling 10-9 win.
"Today was one of the most exciting matches I've ever seen," said head coach Derek Davis. "I was so impressed with the team's composure after falling behind 3-2. We've faced Texas A&M in the gold medal match for the last four years, and we're now tied at two wins apiece. It's a great rivalry between our two teams."
Despite the exciting team round, Columbia isn't done yet - on Sunday, May 22 the Lions will compete in the individual head-to-head competition to close out the tournament. Check back later this weekend for a full recap from the National Championships.