Coming off a very successful Western Regional showing at which it captured 37 medals, including three individual and three gold medals—by far the most of any team at the competition—Cal State Long Beach’s (CSULB) archery team now sets its sights on the U.S. Intercollegiate Archery Championships, May 17-19, at Southern Utah University in Cedar City, Utah.
“With a good showing in the national indoor and a fantastic, blow-‘em-away performance at the West Region Championships, the team has made the school and me proud,” said CSULB archery coach Michael Burnham, who will oversee a squad of 19 archers at the national tournament. “I can’t praise them enough.
“I believe this overall team is the strongest we’ve ever had,” he added. “It’s biggest team we’ve ever had, but size isn’t what counts; what counts is that we have a full team and individuals in the four primary divisions—men’s and women’s recurve and compound-release—capable of competitive scores and a high-performing team and individuals in one of the newer divisions—bowhunter. There is no reason why we cannot and should not raise our national standing.”
According to team president Kalie Sabajo, CSULB ranks fifth nationally going into the tournament.
“Going to nationals is something we’re pretty used to doing,” said the Santa Cruz native, who earned her B.M. degree in music education from CSULB and is a graduate student working toward teaching credential. “We’re ranked fifth as a team in the country so this is something we plan for all year long. Our team is pretty loud and rambunctious so at practice we are always trying to mess with each other, but that helps when we go to tournaments like this because if there is any noise we don’t notice it because we are used to it. We can just block it out.”
Leading the way for the 49ers will be Sabajo, Bianca Bartolome and Nichole Kimbell, each coming off individual gold medal efforts at the regional competition.
“I hope to do better,” said Sabajo, who finished second at nationals in 2012 competing in the Women’s Recurve Division as she will again this time. “This is my last year collegiately so I would really like to be able to win. Bianca’s new this year and I think a lot of people were surprised by what she is doing, but she is just doing a really great job, and Nichole started last year and she’s been winning everything so she is doing really well also.”
Bartolome, a sophomore biochemistry major from Downey who won a best new archer award at regionals, is a bit concerned that lack of real competition at recent tournaments won’t have her as well prepared as she would like when facing higher-level archers at nationals.
“In the recent tournaments, there haven’t been many other archers in my division and because of that I didn’t feel as much pressure,” said Bartolome, who earned an individual gold medal in the Women’s Bowhunter Division at regionals. “But tournaments at the national level are different. National indoors was my first tournament shooting the Bowhunter Division and I didn’t do so well. I've been working on my form to get on the other archers’ levels. I believe I have come far though, but there is always room for improvement. I feel that if I continue working on further improvement, I will be ready to compete with the other archers. Needless to say, I will be doing my best at Utah and the competition should be fun.”
Kimbell, a junior human development major from LaCanada, also hopes to make a good showing at nationals, looking to improve on her efforts a regional competition.
“I’m going to nationals to try my best and not make as many mistakes as I made at the West Regionals,” said Kimbell, who earned an individual gold medal in the Women’s Compound Division at regionals. “I personally thought I made a lot of mistakes due me being nervous. Besides shooting, I’m looking forward see the state of Utah. I have never been there, so this is a nice opportunity to see another part of the country that I never expected to travel too.
“I feel really fortunate that I’m a part of and representing this club,” she added. “It has given me the opportunity to travel all over the country to compete and I’m looking forward to spending the week with my teammates.”