The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Archery team aims to give students a shot


Texas A&M hosted the USA Indoor Nationals in the Physical Education Activity Program Building over the weekend. Archers of all ages gathered to shoot either recurve or compound bows. Archers aged 8-20 competed in the Junior Olympic Archery Development. Archers exceeding this age range competed in the United States Archery Team.
Texas A&M Archery team member Heather Koehl, sophomore communication major, shot in the senior female recurve division. Koehl said recurve is similar to the traditional “Robin Hood bow,” which focuses on form, whereas the compound bow is a “pulley system,” which focuses on aim.
Archery has come into the public eye with films such as Disney’s “Brave” and The Hunger Games franchise. Bill Coady, a coach of the A&M archery team, said these films have had a “huge effect” on the world of archery, notably female archers.
Koehl said she has even seen female archers place “mockingjay” pins on their quivers, a Hunger Games reference.
Despite her initial skepticism of the new recruits, Koehl said the movies have had a positive effect on the sport, drawing in a lot of young girls who would otherwise not have had an interest in the sport.
“Kids these days have the mentality of, ‘I want success now,’ and archery isn’t like that,” Koehl said. “Before the movies we did not have a good future pool for women archers, but now I think we can expect a good future.”
Koehl’s 18-year career in archery, which ultimately led to her experience as an alternate for the 2012 U.S Olympics, was also sparked by interest in a movie.
“I saw Robin Hood when I was five,” Koehl said. “After that, I carried around a plastic bow and arrow for months.”
Koehl said archery is a sport that requires tremendous self-discipline and endurance because competitive sessions can span three to four hours at a time. In training, Koehl said she focuses on “pacing” and staying calm in the face of the “adrenaline rush” that comes with the “primal” reaction to competitive shooting.
Despite being dependent on individual performance, Koehl said teammates embrace the sense of camaraderie archery creates.
“We support each other and we want each other to do really well,” Koehl said.
Tristan Skarvan, A&M archery club president and senior biomedical engineering major, said despite the competitive nature of the sport A&M archers are friendly and encouraging to one another.
“Everybody wants to win,” Skarvan said. “But there is definitely no malice.”
Koehl said the inclusive nature of the sport is what led to the diverse community of archers. Although many archers hit their peak in college, Skarvan said the sport becomes a life-long hobby. Two-time Olympic gold medalist Butch Johnson is still competing at 55.
The archery community also includes shooters with physical disabilities, Koehl said.
“People who are handicapped compete in the U.S. Paralympics,” Koehl said. “There is a man with no arms that shoots with his feet. Archery is really multifaceted like that.”
Coady said even the divisions in skill level do not create isolation among archers.
“We have [college] kids that have never picked up a bow that get to shoot with Olympic athletes,” Coady said.
Koel said archery has inspired her to be a role model to show young girls that they can achieve their goals.
“They can be a girl in a shooting sport,” Koel said. “It’s not limited to boys.”

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