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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

Sophomore LHP Shane Sdao (38) reacts after a strikeout during Texas A&Ms game against Texas at Disch-Falk Field on Tuesday, March 5, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
A Sunday salvage
May 12, 2024
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The Northgate district right adjacent to the Texas A&M campus houses a street of bars and other restaurants.  
Programs look to combat drunk driving
Alexia Serrata, JOUR 203 contributor • May 10, 2024
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Texas A&M infielder Ryan Targac (12) hits a walk-off single to run-rule Arkansas during Texas A&M’s game against Arkansas at Olsen Field on Saturday, May 18, 2024. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)
‘Every decision and choice I’ve made has led up to that moment’
Ian Curtis, Sports Writer • May 18, 2024

It started with a commotion in the Texas A&M baseball dugout.  With the No. 5 Aggies up 13-4 over No. 3 Arkansas with a runner on second...

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Beekeeper Shelby Dittman scoops bees back into their hive during a visit on Friday, April 5, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
Bee-hind the scenes
Shalina Sabih, Sports Writer • May 1, 2024

The speakers turn on. Static clicks. And a voice reads “Your starting lineup for the Texas A&M Aggies is …” Spectators hear that...

Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
'I was terrified'
April 25, 2024
Scenes from 74
Scenes from '74
April 25, 2024
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The BattalionMay 4, 2024

On target

Tucked away behind the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center, in the shadow of Mount Aggie, is a stretch of field that is home to one of the most successful sports teams at Texas A&M: the archery team.
With a collection of Olympians, world champions, ranked players and 11 national championships from 1995 to 2006, successful may be an understatement.
Archery at A&M began as a club sport and it remains so today.
The constant is winning.
Archery was moved up to a varsity level sport in 1999 as part of “Emerging Sports.” It and equestrian were added as women’s NCAA teams.
While equestrian continued to grow and has gone on to be one of A&M’s most successful NCAA level sports, archery had a handful of schools that sponsored it on the NCAA level.
“While we did great, it just didn’t take off around the country,” Head Coach Frank Thomas said. “It was an interesting experience and it was really good for the girls. It gave a lot of the women good opportunities and we had some really good recruits come here. It helped bolster our reputation.”
Despite its low cost, archery was cut from the athletic budget in 2004 and went back to club status. Many members prefer the relaxed level that club status offers.
“Everything would be paid for the women but the men still had to pay for themselves back then,” Thomas said. “That would cause some issues occasionally. While we miss the money, our team chemistry is really good and we don’t have to play by NCAA rules.”
Archers at A&M can have eligibility at any point in their career whereas the NCAA allows for a strict time frame. The team and some of the athletes have sponsors, something forbidden by NCAA rules.
While the loss of varsity status was considered a set back, the Aggies remained the premier team in the nation.
“We are the premier team in the country and won’t be bashful about it,” Thomas said. “We have a great bunch of kids and great facilities as well as great coaches. It is just as good as it can get.”
Individually, the A&M team features some of the best players in the world.
Former A&M player and Olympian Mary Zorn-Hamm is a four-time gold medal world championship winner, including the recent indoor world nations at Prague, which she won while five months pregnant. She was the first female archer to surpass the 1,400-point barrier.
Butch Johnson is a five-time Olympian and former A&M student who competed in Beijing. Jennifer Nichols won gold at the 2007 Pan-American Games, is a two-time Olympian and a former No. 1 ranked player.
“It is all about reputation,” Thomas said. “You know when you come here you will have great facilities. Not only does the University give us the space we need but we have the best indoor facility in the nation bar none. We have a great team. If you come here and shoot with the very best then you can only get better.”
Thomas is a three-time national coach of the year and has coached at the World University Games, World Cup and the 2004 U.S. Olympic team in Athens, Greece. Team USA finished in fourth place but was a point away from defeating Chinese Taipei to reach the gold medal match, and lost by two points to Croatia in the bronze medal match.
“We actually got to shoot in the old Olympic stadium built for the 1896 games which was really cool,” Thomas said. “While it was a terrible place to shoot because of the wind, the Parthenon was in the background, which was really neat.”
Assistant Coach Bill Coady coached at the World University Games and Assistant Coach Lorinda Cohen, a former player who played during the team’s time as a varsity program, began coaching in 2004.
“I started the fall after I ran out of eligibility in the spring of 2004,” Cohen said. “The first couple of years were quite a transition. A lot of people I was coaching were also former teammates. It was fun trying to guide them and teach them the stuff I had learned hands on. It was also frustrating in that you can only do so much as a coach but they have to close the gap themselves.”
With top of the line coaching, facilities and players, the team has strung together a successful streak of individual accolades, victories and national championships.
The previous two years the Aggies lost the national championship to rival James Madison. This year A&M is again in the running along with James Madison, Michigan State, UCLA and USC.
The road to a possible 12th championship continues next weekend when the Aggies compete in the Doinker Texas Shootout at Penberthy Field. Though the team will be hosting some of the nation’s elite players and teams in a tournament that also counts as a U.S. team qualifier, the Aggies will be looking forward to a national championship and beating rival James Madison.
“Obviously the goal every year is to win collegiate nations,” Thomas said. “We’re going to give it our best shot.”
Next tournamentDoinker Texas Shootout at Penberthy Field
Saturday8 a.m.Men’s Recurve & Women’s Compound Scoring
1 p.m.Men’s Compound & Women’s Recurve Scoring
5 p.m.Team Round
Sunday7 a.m. Olympic rounds

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