Chai's Second Place Finish Leads Archers at US Intercollegiate Archery Championships
HARRISONBURG, VA. - After claiming the National Title in the Women's Recurve team competition on Saturday, May 21 at the United States Intercollegiate Archery Championships, the Lions turned their attention to the individual head-to-head competition on Sunday. It was another successful day for the Lions as three Columbia archers finished in the top-five, including Sarah Chai, Anna Harrington and Sydney Shaefer.
Chai ranked second overall in the qualifying round after shooting a 1151 over the two sessions. In the head-to-head competition, she had back-to-back 6-0 wins over Ashley Mull (PC) and Jamie Van Lent (MMC) after an opening round bye to advance to the quarterfinals. In a tougher battle, Chai again emerged victorious, this time over Elizabeth Didan (UConn) 6-4.
Next up was a face Chai has seen time and again throughout the season - her teammate, Harrington. The two battled back and forth, but it was Chai that came out ahead 6-2 to advance to the finals. It was there that she squared off against two-time Olympian Jennifer Nichols of Texas A&M. Despite a solid effort, it was the Aggie who won the match, but Chai finished as the runner-up in the recurve division.
Harrington was just behind Chai in the qualifying round, finishing third overall with an 1103. Harrington also had a first round bye before picking up 6-0 wins over Morgan Allford (UT) and Katy Holmes (JMU) to advance to the quarterfinals. Again she dominated her opponent, this time Fernanda Cabrera (A&M) 7-1, before running into her teammate Chai in the semifinals. In the bronze medal match, Harrington fell to Kayla Debord (A&M) 6-4 to finish fourth overall in recurve.
In the compound division, Shaefer fired a 1267 in the qualifier which ranked 13th overall. She turned it up a notch on the final day of competition in the head-to-head round. Shaefer pulled out a thrilling 124-123 win over Ciera Abbate (JMU) and followed that up with a 140-136 win over Janice Wilson (DC) to advance to the quarterfinals. The junior downed Brandi Mayes (PSU) 134-129, but then dropped a 140-133 battle to Tristan Skarvan (A&M) in the semifinals. In her bronze medal match, Elissa Falconer (MUO) edged Shaefer 135-128, as she finished fourth overall.
At the end of the tournament, both Harrington and Chai were named All-Americans after their standout seasons. This is the third consecutive season Chai has earned All-American honors, and the first for Harrington. Chai, Maya Inamura and Shaefer also earned All-Academic Honors.