The Wm. E. Hay gymnasium attracted lots of traffic this past Saturday, Jan. 14 as archers of various skill levels from five schools across Alberta participated in the first-ever Nockbuster Tournament.
There were 120 students from Wm. E. Hay (Stettler), Gus Wetter (Castor), Central High Sedgewick (Sedgewick), Ardrossan Junior Senior High (Ardrossan) and H. A. Kostash (Smoky Lake) who took part in the tournament.
Stettler’s top archers were Natasha Smith (Grade 7), Hunter Friesen and Nick Deaver (Grade 8), Josh Morris and Kevin Missikewitz (Grade 9), Colby Barclay (Grade 10), Jessa Heatherington and Laura Smith (Grade 12).
Speaking of some great performance from the Stettler archers, Head Coach Tanja Heatherington said, “Our team has gone from 17 to 28 archers, and with over half of the team being brand new, I’m hoping we can continue our third-place team standings at Nationals and Provincial.”
Thanking and acknowledging the support that Heatherington has received, she added, “We couldn’t have done it without the fantastic group of parents we have – Janine Glasier, Donna Morris, Caroline Deaver, and Lisa Rosland, who were indispensable in the scoring room; Circun Gendre, Andrea Webster, Stan Friesen, Jefferson McClung, Kevin Blumhagen and Randy Barclay who had come out to learn how to be range officials; and Kim Bridge, who helped set up the night before.”
According to Heatherington, all she wants her archery students to focus on is to realize that this is a sport they can continue to do well beyond their school years.
“It was the first time for us to host this kind of tournament, will we do it again? Probably. I think the team enjoyed hosting their own tournament,” Heatherington added. “I would say for a young team we stack up quite well.”
Heatherington said that the H. A. Kostash coach Hal Ziprick is the Canadian team coach, so anytime one of her Stettler kids beats one of his, she considers it a step forward.
“He knows a lot more about the sport than I do, but what I love about Hal is that he is not the type to keep information to himself, he’ll often pull me aside to discuss something he sees can be improved in one of my archers,” Heatherington explained. “Hal knows that if we all work together as coaches, in the end, he ends up with a great Canadian team to take to the international competitions.”
The Stettler archery team is headed for tournaments to H. A. Kostash, Smoky Lake on Saturday, Feb. 4; to Gus Wetter, Castor on Friday, Feb. 24; and Ardrossan Junior Senior High, Ardrossan on Friday, March 4.
The Nationals will be held this year in Edmonton from March 16 to 18, and the Provincials will be hosted in Drayton Valley, in April.