After a week of intense competition, facing the world’s best archers in the mountains of Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, Montague County’s own Connor Sears came away from the World Archery Field Championships with a team gold and an individual silver medal.
The Gold-Burg High School senior and the son of Dr. David and Pamela Sears was captain of the Team USA junior men’s team after qualifying for and finishing first back in June at the team trials in Darrington, WA.
Just making the team was an important milestone in Sears career after just missing out the previous year. At 17 years old, Sears was one of the youngest competitors and he was competing in the 18-20 junior division.
Field archery takes place in the mountains, requiring archers to have the adaptability to shoot at targets from extreme angles and weather conditions.
At this course, they had quite a ways hike up a mountain where they shot up a ski jump that has been used in the Olympics, with the targets getting farther and steeper as they shot.
Sears was part of a three man team representing the USA against teams from Romania, Great Britain, Sweden, Slovenia and from the host country Italy. Sears shoots a compound bow while his two teammates shot a recurve and barebow.
After a few days of competition, the junior men’s team total score of 2,033 was second to Italy. This meant Team USA got the second seed in the tournament portion and got a first round bye.
In the semi-finals Sears and his teammates easily won 59-50 against Slovenia to qualify for the gold medal match against Italy.
Against Italy, Team USA trailed at the end of every pass except the one that counted. They trailed 11-10 after the first shot, 24-21 after the second and 37-36 heading into the final target.
Fortunately, Italy’s final archer missed the target as Sears and his teammates pulled out the 45-44 win for the gold medal to erupted cheers from the crowd and chants of “U-S-A! U-S-A!.” Sears helped anchor his team throughout the match, shooting an almost perfect 23 out of 24 points.
“It was an awesome moment,” Sears said. “When he missed, we just went ballistic and it felt like the greatest moment in the world.”
Sears’ competition was not done though. He qualified individually as well, and faced off against an Austrian in the semifinals.
Read the full story in the weekend edition of The Bowie News.