Women's Recurve Team Tops Texas A&M to Win National Archery Title
Courtesy: Columbia University Athletics/Gene Boyars
MAYS LANDING, N.J. The Columbia women's archery team has won a national collegiate archery championship for the first time since 2005.

The Lions' Women's Recurve team, made up of veteran juniors Sara Mancini and Sara Goshorn, plus first-year Alexandra Garyn, defeated James Madison in the national semifinals, and then defeated Texas A&M, a traditional archery power, in the championship finals, which were held in conjunction with the U.S. Intercollegiate Archery Championships (USIAC) Saturday, May 17.

Going into the Team Round, Columbia's archers were most concerned with Stanford, which had won the 2006 and 2007 USIAC championships, edging Columbia last season by just four points. To their surprise, James Madison upset Stanford in the quarterfinals.

Columbia, which had received a bye in the quarterfinals, then met James Madison and upset the Dukes, 182-136. That sent the Lions into the championship finals against Texas A&M, which topped Texas-Austin in the other semifinal.

Head coach Derek Davis had selected senior Robin Liang to team with Goshorn and Garyn on the three-person Recurve Team for the team round. But Liang regretfully asked to be removed from the Columbia "team" after aggravating an old injury.

"This is Robin's senior year," Davis said, "her final college competition. I knew how much she wanted to shoot in the team round. But she came up to me and said that more than anything, she wanted us to win the team competition. She asked me to put Sara Mancini, our alternate, on the Recurve team in her place for the team round."

With Mancini actually shooting the best of the trio, Columbia breezed past James Madison and then defeated Texas A&M for the championship by a 169-141 score. The Lions had won the 2005 title by beating the Aggies as well.

Davis praised Goshorn and Garyn, but spotlighted Mancini, the alternate. "Sara was clutch as she always is; she anchored us to the win," he said.

Earlier, the archers completed the individual FITA rounds, shooting 72 more arrows, 36 each at 50 and 30 meters. Their places after combining the two days will decide their seeding for Sunday's head-to-head individual championships.

Columbia first-year Margot Stuchin, the Manhattanite who was set back by equipment problems in Friday's shooting, bounced back with a 644, after her 507, for a combined 1151 and second place. The score was just two points behind the USIAC Women's Recurve leader, Annette Gorelik of Harvey Mudd College.

Mancini's 610 gave her a two-day total of 1149 for third place, while Goshorn fired a 611 to give her 1124 points, good for sixth place.

Despite her painful ailment, Liang fired a 596 for a total of 1110, placing her ninth, and Garyn posted a 595 on the heels of her 505. Her two-day total of 1100 earned her the last spot in the Top 10.

Sophomore Stephanie Botica just missed that 1100 mark by only one point! Her 1099 (503-596), a personal best, was 11th. In the Compound Division, junior co-captain Amanda McDermott shot a 638 to go with her first day's 590, her total of 1228 leaving her in the Compound Top 10.

McDermott's parents were on hand for her fine shooting, having traveled all the way from Maine. Mancini's parents, and those of junior Emma Gillespie had also come to South Jersey from their Pennsylvania and Massachusetts homes.

The U.S. Intercollegiate Championships conclude Sunday on the campus of Atlantic Cape Community College with individual elimination rounds, followed by the individual quarterfinals and semifinals, and the bronze and gold medal rounds.