A team of archers from Stettler Middle School (SMS) brought home the bronze last week after competing in a national championship for the first time.
A group made up of 40 middle schoolers and coached by teacher Luke Peters took part in the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) championship in Edmonton, held on Thursday, March 12 at the Northlands Agricom as part of the Edmonton Boat and Sportsmen’s Show.
The SMS students were divided into two teams — one consisting of 24 students, the other of 16 — with each team’s top 12 scores being counted towards their total.
The first team reached third place in the middle school division with a total of 2,906 points, finishing just four points behind Mountain View School, which earned second place.
First prize in the middle school division went to Canora Composite School from Canora, Sask., which earned a total of 2,978 points.
The second team from SMS finished in ninth place out of 20 teams, with a score of 2,450.
Peters said he was pleased with the results, especially given that this was the first year for the team. Some of the students had tried archery at summer camp, but most of them were completely new to the sport.
“People who are new to archery have less bad habits, they’re easier to teach,” he noted. “This is a sport that many students who are not typically involved in athletics can enjoy and excel in.”
“We have a solid core of students who have really shown a passion for the sport and it was great to see how far they’ve come in only a few months,” he continued.
Mignioné Vogel was the top female archer from SMS with a score of 244, while Beau Cooper was the school’s top male archer with a total of 261.
Each archer taking part in the tournament used compound bows and shot a total of 30 scored arrows, 15 from a distance of 10 metres and the remaining arrows from a distance of 15 metres.
A perfect individual score is 300 points, while a perfect team score is 3600. Each team was required to include a minimum of four male and four female archers.
Over 1,300 archers, representing 63 different schools in elementary, middle and secondary school divisions, competed in the tournament in Edmonton.
The NASP began in the United States and was introduced in Canada almost a decade ago, and has helped to make archery the fastest growing sport in Alberta. Peters said the school has a total of 52 students taking part, between the recreational group and the competitive group.
He added that he hopes the grade redistribution anticipated for Stettler’s public schools next year will allow for more student participation as well as competitive teams at multiple levels.
Peters also introduced archery at William E. Hay Composite High School two years ago when he was on the staff there. That team also earned bronze at provincials.
The SMS archers are registered to compete in the provincial championships, coming up from April 22 to 24 in Drayton Valley.