Cori Erwin

(Rock Hill, S.C.) — Arrows sailed through the air, hitting their targets, as 50 archers filled the Student Activity Center at Winthrop University to participate in both team and individual archery competitions.

The Winthrop Archery Tournament, March 2, had four different shoot times between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Tabitha Way, who founded the Archery Club last year and serves as president, said participants were required to provide their own Matthews Genesis bows and Easton 1820 arrows that were used in the tournament.

“These are the exact same bows and arrows that are required for the National Archery in Schools Program (NASP), which is a program for elementary, middle and high schools and they use these bows,” said Way. “They were actually designed for the program because they are so adaptable. Everybody can use them without having to adjust them every time.”

The Archery Club provided rentals for $5, for participants who didn’t have the proper equipment.

By the end of the tournament, Way said the club raised about $700, which will be invested in equipment for future club use.

Team competitions were split into middle school, high school and adult age groups, and trophies and medals were awarded to the top performers of each division.

Each team consisted of six participants with at least two males and two females on each roster.

Freshmen Courtney Garrett, a member of the Archery Club, said she enjoyed competing in the tournament for the Winthrop team.

“I really like competitiveness, so I like beating people, like everyone does,” said Garrett.

The Winthrop team finished second in the team competition and Garrett placed fourth in the adult ladies competition and second in the shoot-off.

“We chose 14 people because we had 14 places on the target and out of that, everybody shot and it was like if you make it into the yellow (of the target), you stay and make it into the yellow again,” said Garrett, describing the shoot-off. “Then when it got down to the last five people, it was whoever got closest to the center of the target.”

Sophomore AnnaMarie Wilde, a member of the Winthrop team and Archery Club treasurer, said she enjoyed the range of age groups that came to the competition.

“The [other] adult team was composed of different coaches, past archers and some current archers, which was really cool to watch and so it was all different ages. It was really neat,” said Wilde.

Although Wilde did not have experience in archery before coming to Winthrop, she said she was excited to give the tournament a chance.

“I’ve done competitions in the past from marching band to basketball to soccer, and archery sounded cool,” said Wilde. “I just really enjoy archery and the chance to compete against others and just see how I rank up against other people my age.”

Garrett said she was really excited to find out Winthrop had an archery team, after she fell in love with the sport during an archery class in high school with her former boyfriend.

“I guess I just really liked beating him,” she said. “I love this sport because it is super easy and I don’t have to run or do any movement except work on my arms.”

Beyond the competitiveness in the tournaments, Wilde said, members of the Archery Club bond with each other by playing games during practices.

“It’s a lot of fun,” said Wilde. “A lot of team bonding and I think when we started off as a club that is what really helped us kick start, because we bonded real quick, real fast.”

The tournament and club are open to both experienced and amateur archers, and Wilde recommends anyone with an interest should give the sport a shot.

“I would say just go for it because I had no experience either and just in one semester I have grown so far in archery and so has so many other people. Even though I’ve only done a semester of archery, I’m teaching archery this summer, just because I love it so much. You don’t really need experience to do archery. It is a sport for everybody,” said Wilde.

After the success of this year’s tournament and the positive response Way has gotten from club members, she said the group has already discussed making this an annual event.

“I think it went really well overall,” said Way. “We are hoping to get more interest for next year by planning it earlier and getting the word out sooner, but I’m excited with where we’re headed.”