(LR) Casey Kaufhold and Jennifer Fernandez during the 2021 Olympic Archery Final Qualifying Tournament on June 20, 2021 in Paris.
“I think there is just something special about what she did that just continued,” said Heather Pfeil, Lancaster Archery Academy program coordinator who has coached Kaufhold since 2013. “She had the skills. responsibility to install it herself and get it ready. ”And the bow is just very forgiving to her.
Kaufhold was feeling so confident and relaxed at the world championships that she went to the stands to visit her mother Carole after her 6-2 quarterfinal victory over Ankita Bhakat of India. His next opponent was An, whose under-21 world record Kaufhold broke in May in the qualifying round of the Olympic Trials with a score of 682 (the maximum for 72 arrows is 720).
“Everyone was saying, ‘Good job’ and I whispered to my mom, ‘An San doesn’t know what’s coming up,'” Kaufhold said, “because I felt so strong on stage. felt so confident. We weren’t saying it was arrogant or arrogant – it was really how I felt and the way I wanted to approach the game. I know she is such a strong competitor that if I was holding back , I was not going to win this game.
With 10s of four of his first six shots, Kaufhold took a 4-0 lead. An won the next set, then Kaufhold finished with two more 10s to end the game 6-2 against a painted background of the four presidential faces of Mount Rushmore.
She then lost to South Korea’s Jang Minhee 6-0 in the final.
“I know I didn’t win the whole event, but for me the silver at the senior world championships is a big win,” said Kaufhold. “I’ve had a long season with a lot of ups and downs so finally winning a medal on a big stage where it really mattered, especially at home, it was a great feeling.”
She spoke with Parker, a former teenage sensation who won the Olympic team bronze medal in 1988. Kaufhold’s father Robert competed at the same time as Parker.
“She just said, ‘Have fun and be yourself,'” Kaufhold said.
So unlike many other male and female archers, Kaufhold smiles and waves before and during his matches.
“It’s just a part of Casey’s personality,” Pfeil said. “Our # 1 rule is to have fun. She was able to enjoy that part of the experience this week just having fun with her teammates and family.
“If I smile and laugh, it means I’m relaxed and ready to go,” Kaufhold said.
She loves the one-on-one aspect of the sport.
“I think it really shows who’s the strongest in the field,” Kaufhold said, “and it takes a lot of mental and physical strength to get on stage and shoot rather than just being in the field to shoot a qualifier or just a plain, old playoff game. It adds a lot because you have the crowd there, you have cameras. It’s a whole bunch of people clapping and if something bad happens you could hear the crowd gasp or scream.
Although she did not perform as well as she would have liked at the Olympics, Kaufhold drew some valuable insight from that experience.
“I think part of the reason I performed so well at the world championships is that I learned how I play on stage and how nervous I get,” she said.
Casey Kaufhold competes in the women’s team quarter-finals at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on July 25, 2021 in Tokyo.
At the Olympics, Kaufhold said she felt like she had more nervous thoughts, but her body was calm. To the worlds, his mind was clear, but his body was shaking a little. “It’s easier for me to deal with rather than having those nervous thoughts like, ‘Oh, I have to shoot a 10 to win this,'” Kaufhold said.
She also knows that she can have a little psychological advantage over her opponents since as a left-hander she is used to facing right-handed archers. They are more used to seeing the back of their rivals’ heads, not their faces
“It might add a bit of intimidation,” Kaufhold said.
With his parents at the helm of Lancaster Archery Supply, Kaufhold naturally started the sport at a young age. She started competing at the age of 8, but by this time she was more serious in gymnastics. A knee injury a few years later made him pivot into archery.
“I wasn’t able to fully recover so it was getting difficult to do the same things in gymnastics that I wanted and I couldn’t see myself progressing,” Kaufhold said.
Changing sports meant changing your mindset. “Gymnastics is more of a performance sport,” Kaufhold said, “where you are judged on how you do something. And archery is a result sport, where you are not judged by the appearance of the shot, but you are judged by where the arrow lands in the target. I love them both, really, but I think archery is where I’m most successful.
After the World Cup final, the high school student is entitled to a break until her next competition on Thanksgiving. She has just joined her first school club, SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions), which Kaufhold says “helps educate students to make good decisions and to be safe.”
She was also appointed to the Conestoga Valley High School reunion tribunal and made her own dresses for all of the various events.
“I resumed sewing during the pandemic lockdown,” said Kaufhold, who had a sewing machine she hadn’t used much. “I learned on my own how to make clothes. This is something I can use as an archery escape, as it requires a lot of attention and fine detail.
“It’s cool to make my own dresses and have my own style.”
She is also in the middle of her application process for Texas A&M University. His brother goes there and Kaufhold plans to specialize in creative business and compete for the archery team.
And it also intends to compete at the international level for the years to come. Like Emma Raducanu of Great Britain and Leylah Fernandez of Canada, finalists in women’s tennis at the US Open, Kaufhold is a teenage girl in a sport dominated by adults.
“I think it’s great to see more young children in the mix with older people,” Kaufhold said. “I think in some sports age doesn’t necessarily matter. It just depends on the work you put in, how you approach it, your state of mind and your physical training. I’m only 17 and some of the other athletes are in their twenties, thirties, and some even in their early forties.
“Anyone can shoot, so it’s really great to see this younger generation come up. “