Arc Système wins compound team champion title with World Series Finals victory over Team Easton

Arc Système celebrate the 2021 Indoor Archery World Series Champion title.

Nicolas Girard’s incredible accuracy, especially when attempting at the strategic 12-spot, carried Arc Système to a shoot-off victory over Team Easton in the compound team title match at the remote Indoor Archery World Series Finals.

“We’re players. We played the game, and it paid off,” said Girard’s teammate Adrien Gontier. “In this game, you’ve always got to try for the maximum. And in this format, that’s absolutely 32 points per end. Other teams played it safer than us… and we put this one to bed.”

Shooting from Dijon, France, Arc Système’s trio of Girard, Gontier and Lola Grandjean was bold from the start. They grasped every opportunity to attempt the high-risk, high-reward white dot in the red rings. While some arrows landed in the eight or seven, Nicolas hit more often than not.

It had been scattershot through Grandjean and Gontier’s individual matches in the semifinal game, and neither had picked up the available bonus points.

But Girard, rather than waiting for his last arrow of each end to attempt the unusual maximum-score dot – which measures just 15 millimetres in diameter and is just three-quarters of the size of the 10-ring – displayed incredible confidence when he assaulted it with his opening shot of each volley.

And he hit – each and every time.

The 20-year-old shot four more 12s in the team match, carrying Arc Système to a 127-125 victory over Estonia.

It set up the final with an experienced squad representing Easton. Multiple indoor world champion Reo Wilde, Kris Schaff and Linda Ochoa-Anderson, shooting from Reo’s home range, had defeated the Hotshots, a team of young archers from the US, in a surprisingly tight semi.

Schaff beat Grandjean in the first match of the final game, 120-118, and then Gontier bested Ochoa-Anderson, 119-117, in the second.

Girard, the French team’s joker, showed up again in the third individual head-to-head. He forced Wilde out of his comfort zone early and took an incredible 11-point victory, 120-109. Until this point, Team Easton had largely ignored the 12-point dot, aiming for 10s. But Girard dictated the pace of the match.

Under this format, it’s the team match that decides the outcome.

Arc Système’s attempts at the 12 continued, and the variance in their score widened. But by the end of the third of the four regulation ends, it forced Wilde into again needing to shoot the white spot to keep up. He delivered, levelling the match at 90 points apiece with three arrows to shoot.

Each team shot one nine, one 10 with its next two arrows.

Reo Wilde stepped to the line and, after much discussion with his teammates, raised his right hand to indicate he’d be shooting at the 12. A preventative early strike. He hit it. Girard, who was never aiming for anything else, matched it – sending the final to the first shoot-off of this new format.

The shoot-off arrows of Team Easton (left) and Arc Système (right).

“We knew that they were going to go for it,” Reo said, afterward. “I would rather have a chance to win than not even try.”

After a whole hour of competition – and 48 arrows from each team in this final – just one shot from one archer of each squad would decide the outcome.

Kris Schaff, Team Easton’s captain, opened and shot a 10, edged left and nestled into the line of the ring.

Nicolas Girard, the undeniable hero of the Arc Système squad, hit a 10 right – but creasing the X in the centre of the target and, after adjudication from the remote competition control, rightly declared the winner.

“It was a really great experience,” said Girard. “I think we’d all like to do this again.”

Grandjean emphasised that the team was committed to shooting at the 12 in most circumstances, despite some sensible approaches in Gontier’s individual matches, and that’s what set them apart.

Arc Système won 2250 CHF alongside the Indoor Archery World Series Champion title, while Team Easton collected 1250 CHF. Estonia and the Hotshots split third place.

This year’s Indoor Archery World Series Finals, in the spirit of the recent virtual season, are taking place entirely remotely using a brand-new format. Take a look at the competition rules explanation and the preview of the recurve competition, which takes place on Sunday.