NEW YORK – The Columbia archery team is set to open the 2012 season as the defending national champions in the recurve division, as the Lions will travel to Mays Landing, N.J., to take part in the Eastern Seaboard FITA, Sunday, January 22. 

Recapping 2011
Last May, the Columbia archery team won a thrilling match-up against Texas A&M at the 2011 United States Intercollegiate Archery Championships. The Lions pulled out a dramatic 10-9 win over the Aggies to claim the national championship title in the recurve division. The win marked the first national title for the Lions since 2008.

Super Senior Class
The Lions return eight athletes who competed at Nationals last year, including a strong senior class of five. Seniors Sarah Chai, Aaqilah Chambers, Kate Cwynar, Anna Harrington and Sydney Shaefer are back for the Lions, leading a young group of teammates into the 2012 season. With no juniors on the roster, sophomores Marilyn He, Sara Lavenhar and Mary Quien mark the only other retuning upperclassmen. But a strong first-year class bolsters the roster for Columbia.

Fresh New Faces 
Columbia is welcoming four new members to its ranks this season, as Sarah Bernstein, Grace Kim, Gladys Velez-Caicedo and Miryung Yang are all shooting for the Lions. Bernstein, Kim and Yang will join the recurve squad, as Velez-Caicedo will shoot compound this year. 

Busy Winter Break 
Two of those first-years have had a busy winter break leading up to the season. First-year Sarah Bernstein qualified for the Junior World Indoor Team in early January, finishing third at the 2012 World Archery Indoor Championship trials.

The World Archery Indoor Championships will kick off in Las Vegas, Nevada on February 5 with official practice, and competition beginning February 6. The event, co-hosted by USA Archery and the National Field Archery Association at the Southpoint Hotel and Casino, is expected to draw over 350 of the world's best archers. Visit for more information. Click here for complete results from the team selection event.

And her classmate, Grace Kim, also had a good break, as she took second at the 2012 California State Indoor Championships, in the Women’s Junior Recurve division. Kim finished with a score of 1021 pts. 

Coach’s Corner 
Columbia archery head coach Derek Davis is excited about the season that’s ahead of his squad. 

"I'm really looking forward to this season," Davis said. "We have a great balance on the team with an experienced upper class, a mature sophomore class and strong first year class. I expect a lot of great things."

Up Next
After competing at the Eastern Seaboard FITA in New Jersey this weekend, the Columbia archery team will head to Queens to take part in the New York State Indoor Championship, which will be held at ProLine Archery in Ozone Park.