Archers qualify as team, individuals for state archery tournament in Branson

Members of the high school archery team senior Emmaleigh Kowal, sophomore Samantha Pearman, freshman Elliot Kowal, sophomore Logan Schockmann, junior Ryellie Umlauf, junior Alyssa Alcantara and freshman Alyson Alcantara stand at the 10-meter line as they prepare to fire at their targets. The high school team qualified for the state bullseye tournament with their combined score of 3,151.

Warsaw archers hit the bullseye, qualifying for state once again. Last year, hopes were dashed as the state-qualifying team and individuals were not able to compete at the tournament due to COVID-19. For a team to qualify, the top 12 archers must have a combined score of over 3,100. During the Warsaw State Qualifier on Jan. 29-30, the WHS team qualified with a score of 3,151.
“I’m really hoping that my high school team shoots a better score than they already have and it gets us onto tier two,” archery coach Jackie Downing said.
There are three tiers that archers can qualify on, which is used to determine when they can sign up for a spot at the state shoot. The state shoot will be held in Branson, MO, on March 18-20. There is still one bullseye tournament and one 3D tournament left on the team’s schedule for the season, both scheduled for March 6 at Skyline, to allow for as many archers to qualify for state as possible. Archers are able to qualify in both bullseye and 3D tournaments, hoping to get the highest score possible on the different target types.
Sophomore Hudson Karr qualified as an individual for the State 3D Tournament with his score of 283 and also for the State Bullseye Tournament with a score of 280 during the Skyline Archery Tournament at the start of the season on Dec. 18.
“I didn’t qualify for 3D last year and I’m actually improving on shooting from 15 meters which is where I don’t do my best,” Karr said. “I haven’t been able to shoot like all this month and since the beginning so I can’t really say that much but so far it’s been going pretty good.”
The way that an archer shoots can affect the position on the target that their arrow hits, which is why they are encouraged to follow the exact same process whenever they shoot. Though they don’t all aim in the exact same spot, archers find themselves hitting the bullseye from the 10- and 15-meter line.
“It’s like everything you do, the more consistent you are the better shot you’re going to be,” Downing said.
Each archer has developed his or her own process while shooting.
“It’s hard to do the exact same thing every time, but you have to, otherwise you will throw yourself off,” sophomore Logan Schockmann said. “When I prepare to shoot, I load my bow and then sit and stare at the spot where I want the arrow to go. I try to ignore everyone else around me, even the person I’m shooting with. I don’t pay attention to where their arrow [goes], good or bad.”
“I’m a bit different from everyone else because most people use the tip of the arrow and find a spot on the target with that, I have not done that once,” sophomore Hudson Karr said. “From the first year I started doing it, I just [used] muscle memory and found a spot and kept going from there and kept shooting from the same spot. I don’t really aim, it’s just muscle memory.”
“It’s amazing how much a slight change in your release can affect the flight of your arrow,” freshman Alyson Alcantara said.
Shooting in 3D archery tournaments is a little bit different as archers must adjust to shooting at six targets ranging between 10 and 15 meters away. There are six different animal targets that archers shoot at: a turkey, coyote, cinnamon bear, stone sheep, antelope and a deer.
“Number one, 3D is harder for my kids because we don’t have 3D targets to practice on,” Downing said. “Number two, it’s just a different look than what we’re used to practicing with.”
Despite being more difficult than bullseye, many archers prefer to shoot 3D. So far, Skyline shoots have been the only ones to feature 3D targets.
“3D is more fun because you’re shooting at something other than a bullseye,” sophomore Ellie Murrell said. “Some people don’t hunt and do really well at [3D] and some people do hunt and do really bad because it’s not a moving target.”