Atascadero resident wins both Compound Female and Compound Mixed Teams events by one point
ATASCADERO — Bella Otter made her hometown of Atascadero proud when she brought home two gold medals after competing in the Pan American Championships in Nova Scotia, Canada, at the beginning of the month. The Championships took place from May 31 thru June 5.
“The very first day of competition was our qualification day, and basically, at that point, everybody lines up on the line, and you’re all competing against each other for a ranking,” said Otter. “It was, hands down, the windiest conditions I have ever, ever shot in for any sort of archery event in the history of all of my competitions.”
Otter went on to say that the wind was blowing at 35-plus-mile-an-hour gusts.
“Basically, when you’re holding your bow out like that, you’re holding this sail,” she said.
Even with the conditions not being favorable for any of the archers during qualifications, Otter ended up earning the No. 1 seed by over 30 points ahead of the No. 2 seed.
“I really have to say for anybody that kept going up there and kept shooting in that and was able to keep their head, major props, to literally everybody on the line,” added Otter.
Otter then competed in the U21 Mixed Team event, where the top-ranking female and top-ranking male from each country (in their division) are put together as a team. Otter shot alongside Tyler Heritage for Team USA.
“We made a super rad team,” Otter said of Heritage. “It was really cool, and he and I competed in the Gold Medal match against El Salvador. And we put up a super, super great score of 156/160.”
Otter and Heritage were well matched and shot similar scores the entire match. Together they beat El Salvador’s mixed team by one point, with El Salvador coming in at 155/160 for their final score, landing Otter her first gold of the Pan Americans.
“It was super great. We had a ton of fun. Won gold, [my] first international gold, and it was rad,” she said.
Next, Otter headed into the elimination day for the Individual U21 Compound Female competition. She was paired with multiple archers, shooting 15 arrows each. At the end of the rounds, whoever had the highest score moved on, while the other archer’s time in the competition was over.
“They’re like sudden death elimination matches,” added Otter. “I ended up making my way through the elimination matches all the way to the gold medal match.”
In the Individual U21 Compound Female gold medal match, Otter went against Paola Corado from El Salvador.
“Our match was super exciting. The coach that I had behind me in the coach’s box just kept saying, ‘man, you guys are good for TV,'” Otter laughed. “I mean, while it may have been totally freaking my parents out how close we were making it and everything, it was arguably, I felt, like the most exciting gold medal match in any division.”
Corado started ahead, but at the end of the match, Otter took the lead by a single point. But with her final shot, Corado tied Otter, which led to a single-arrow shoot-off. The woman with an arrow closest to the center of the target would win gold. Otter shot first.
“So, everything is hanging on this one single arrow,” Otter said. “The only thing I cared about walking up to that line was just; I wanted to make a shot with an execution process that I was proud of.”
Otter landed a nine-point shot and waited to see where Corado would end up.
“In the end, her [Corado’s] final arrow landed in the eight ring, which is what did it. That’s what brought victory my way,” said Otter excitedly.
Otter also competed with the U.S. U21 Compound Female team against Canada’s team at the Pan American Championships with Hatley Hetletved and Izzy Burley. The U.S. team took that win as well.
Next, Otter will be competing for Team USA at Stage 3 of the World Cup in Paris, France, which will take place June 20-24.