The 139th USA Archery Target Nationals and 2023 U.S. Open are set to kick off Aug. 30 through Sept. 2 in Malvern, Pennsylvania.
That sure is a mouthful. What exactly does it entail? Well, it’s two tournaments in one, essentially.
Target Nationals is the annual tournament where USA Archery crowns its national champions in target archery. Target archery is an outdoor round in which archers shoot 72 arrows at targets set at one of two distances. Compound and barebow recurve archers shoot 50 meters, and Olympic recurve archers shoot 70 meters. (Olympic recurve archers age 50 and older shoot at a distance of 60 meters.)
Compound archers shoot at an 80 cm target face with six concentric scoring rings worth — from the outside moving inward — 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 points. All recurve archers shoot at a 122 cm target face with 10 scoring rings worth — from the outside moving inward — 1-10 points.
Each archer shoots 12 ends of six arrows. That is, they shoot six arrows and then walk downrange to score and pull those arrows. So a perfect score for all archers is 720 points.
For Target Nationals, all archers shoot two target rounds — one per day over two days. So the total number of arrows shot in competition for Target Nationals is 144, and the national champions are crowned based on their score for those 144 arrows.
Currently, Brady Ellison is the national Senior Men’s Recurve record holder for this type of competition, which is called a 70-meter Double Round, with a score of 1,378, shot in 2022. Mackenzie Prugh is the national Senior Women’s Recurve record holder, with a score of 1,346, shot in 2021.
In Senior Men’s Barebow, John Demmer III is the national record holder for the 50-meter Double Round, with a score of 1,328, shot in 2020. Claire Xie is the Senior Women’s Barebow national record holder, with a score of 1,249, shot in 2021.
In Senior Men’s Compound, Braden Gellenthien is the national record holder for the 50-meter Double Round, with a score of 1,428, shot in 2016. Jamie Van Natta is the national record holder in Senior Women’s Compound, with a score of 1,403, shot in 2011.
After Target Nationals has ended, the U.S. Open begins the following day. Archers in each discipline are ranked based on their double-round scores. USA Archery then creates a competition bracket similar to the annual NCAA national championship basketball tournament.
The number of archers in each bracket depends on the number of archers competing in each discipline, but the bracket features head-to-head matches, where the winner of each match advances to the next round, while the loser is eliminated. Eventually, there will be two archers left in each bracket, who will shoot against each other to determine who is the U.S. Open champion.
Scoring in the U.S. Open is a bit different than in Target Nationals, although the same targets and same distances are shot. A match for compound archers consists of five ends of three arrows each, for a total perfect score of 150. Higher score wins the match.
For all recurve archers, scoring is done by the set system. Each archer shoots an end of three arrows. The archer with the higher score is awarded 2 set points, while the other archer receives none. In the event of a tie for an end, each archer receives 1 point. The winner of the match is the archer who reaches 6 set points first. At minimum, a match will consist of no less than three ends.
Anyone is allowed to enter this combined tournament. There are various equipment rules for the different disciplines that must be followed to be a legal competitor. You can find those rules here.
If you don’t want to compete, but you’d like to spectate, that is allowed. The competition this year will be held at the Greater Chester Valley Sports Complex at 137 Line Road, Malvern, Pennsylvania, 19355. Bring a chair, since there is no spectator seating. The schedule of events, including competition times and dates for the various disciplines, can be found here.
If you can’t make it to the event site, but you’d like to follow the action, there are a couple of options. USA Archery will post updates at the end of each competition day to its social media channels. Or you can follow live scoring by going to Betweenends.com and selecting the 139th USA Archery Target Nationals and U.S. Open event tab.
The gold medal matches for senior men’s and women’s compound, Olympic recurve and barebow recurve will be broadcast live on Saturday, Sept. 2, on USA Archery’s social media channels. Check those channels regularly on Sept. 2 for the exact broadcast start time.