Long County archer Cassandra Pelton competed in the World Archery Indoor Championship that was held in Ankara, Turkey, from March 1-6.
Pelton said she was one of 261 competitors from all over the world who took part in the event. She competed in the qualification round and the team round representing the U.S. Though she was unable to bring a medal home, Pelton did do well, posting a score of 552 out of a possible 600 points.
“I shot about my average tournament score, so I felt pretty good about it,” she said.
Pelton said the American team did well in the tournament, giving one of the top teams a scare toward the medal round.
“Team USA did pretty well as a whole. The female recurve senior team (Pelton’s team) competed against the Russians in our first team round, and we took them all the way to a one-arrow shoot-off, but we lost the match by one point,” she said. “The Russians made it all the way to the bronze-medal match, so that was pretty cool.
“We had a total of three individual’s medal for the USA, and we had one team make it to a medal match,” she added.
Pelton said she had been a part of many teams since taking up archery, but representing the U.S. had a special meaning for her.
“It was an incredible feeling representing my country,” she said. “It was cool to know that, every time I stepped up to that line, I had an entire country cheering me on, pushing me and wanting me to do my best. I have an incredible love for my country, and to be able to show that by representing it to the best of my ability was an honor.”
This was Pelton’s first time competing against the best archers in the world, and she said that being at the highest level of competition brought some special feelings.
“Archery is a very unique sport because everyone shoots together, Olympians share the line with those of us that are fairly new to the sport,” she said. “I have loved seeing that in the United States, but getting to see that at an international event was amazing. I had the opportunity to shoot next to people that I had watched shoot on TV. I got to make friends with people that live in different states across our country, and with people that live in different countries. I got to watch people from warring countries stand next to one another and shoot together with no problem. So, in short, my favorite part about this trip was to see how it brought people together. We may all be competitors, but we all have one commonality. We all love this sport.”
Pelton said that even though she has been the center of attention with her archery, she could not have attained her success without the support of many people.
“I cannot do what I do without the people that support me,” she said. “My family has always pushed me to be the best I could be, and all of their work is finally starting to pay off. They support my dreams through financial support and prayers and encouraging words that I could not live without. A lot of people don’t realize how important family is to a growing athlete. Also, my coach and teammates are also very big supporters of me, my coach and her family are like family to me, and I could not do this without them.
“When I say I cannot do this without them I mean it,” she continued. “I may shoot the bow, but they provide an environment for me that makes that possible. I can never truly thank them for all they have done. I have the best support system on the planet, and that’s a fact.”
Though the world indoor championships are over, Pelton said she is still training and looking forward to her next competition.
“I am preparing for outdoor season,” she said. “Specifically, I have started training for Arizona Cup, which is actually another world trials for me, the World University Games Team Trials. Myself and a few of my teammates from Georgia Southern are going, and I am looking forward to my outdoor season because it is my first one in the senior division, which provides a new set of challenges that I look forward to overcoming.”