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2009 Youth World Championships

Matt opened the tournament shooting well and after the first two distances he was in 11th place with his highest position at one point being 8th place. Needless to say, his spirits where very high going into 50 meters; where he normally pulls ahead or gains ground. His opening arrow at 50 meters would change that. He set his sights incorrectly by 10 marks and shot a low 4. In the panic and confusion of trying to make the sight correction he finished that end with a 15. As parents, we know that look. He knew his top 10 finish in the Fita was gone. After a several ends of trying to shake off the disappointment, he was back on track for 30 meters. When the horn blew for the shooters to take the line, I knew there was going to be a problem. Matt was on the B line. He usually shoots the A target, and sure enough that's what he did. He shot a 10 on the A target. He followed that with an X and a 10 on the B target. This time he shook it off quickly and shot well enough to hang on to the 24th position. Our hearts were breaking for him, and we are so proud of him for staying in the fight. Matt has been shooting recurve for a little over a year and a half, and apparently there are still lessons to be learned in international competition for him and me. As his Dad and coach, I did not prepare him as well as I thought.

Matt was prepared to fight and came to play in the elimination rounds. Matt had a bye in his first match. Matt's second match was against a boy from Slovakia ranked 41. After the first 6 arrows Matt was down 56 to 55. With the other boy finishing the second end with a 57, Matt had three 10's and two 9's on the target, he needed a 10 to tie. He nailed the 10. Matt shot four 10's and two 9's for a 58. They were tied at 113. They announced a tie on target 6 between Matt Zumbo from the USA and Kristjan Bauer from Slovakia. There will be a shoot off. Many of his teammates and their parents came down to watch. They blew the horn for the shooters to step to the line. The crowd was chanting USA, USA, USA. The Slovakian boy shot first with an 8, Matt shot about 3 seconds later and nailed the 10. It was unbelievable. Matt did that arm pump that he does, if you've seen him shoot you know what I'm talking about. Again, chants of USA, USA. The excitement for me was almost too much. I was ready to go home right then.

Matt's third match was against the number 9 ranked boy from Slovakia. It was not as dramatic. He was up 4 at the split and won 110 to 108.

Matt's fourth match was against the number 8 ranked boy from Russia, and was also a nail bitter. At the split Matt was down three 56 to 53. Two of his 9's were line cutters, almost 10's. With 5 of the last 6 arrows on the targets, Matt was down by one. The Russian boy shot a 9. Matt needed a 10 to tie. He shot a 9 just missing the 10 and was eliminated 107 to 106. The wind was coming up and both boys shot lower than what they normally shoot. They both shot 7's on there first shot on the second end. These guys don't shoot 7's.

To sum it up, Matt finished 11th in the world and was the highest finishing male recurve shooter on the USA Archery Junior Team. Very, very nice. We could not be more proud of him. He fought like a champion and shot like a champion.

The 2009 Cadet Male Recurve Team, Matt Zumbo, Daniel McLaughlin, and Nathan Yamaguchi, finished sixth in the team round moving up in the ranking from ninth. They were eliminated by the Korean team. I do believe they set a national team fita total record of 3720, and a national team OR record of 212.


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