LASA Archery Club Hits the Bullseye

Graphic by Annabel Andre

Graphic by Annabel Andre

Wintyr Rice, Staffer

A shrill whistle sounds out over the grassy plain, as the archer knocks an arrow and pulls back the bowstring, eyes trained on the target. They let the arrow fly and it pierces the bullseye. 

Though LASA has over a dozen sport teams, archery has never been one of them, something that a few students hope to change. LASA’s archery club was founded earlier this year by sophomore Annabelle Davis, however, Davis is hoping to go one step further and form a LASA archery team along with freshmen Camilla Bosquez and Amelia McRoberts. 

“Amelia and I wanted to start a team, because we’ve both been doing archery half our lives, and we’ve been doing it competitively together since 5th grade,” Bosquez said. “LASA didn’t have an established team, but we knew there could be a market of sorts for a sport like it.”

Four elementary and middle schools in the Austin Independent School District (AISD) have archery classes and teams. These schools include Brentwood Elementary School, Highland Park Elementary School, Kealing Middle School, and Lamar Middle School. However, McCallum is currently the only high school in the district that offers the sport. According to McRoberts, the archery club is the first step to diversifying archers’ high school options.

“So far, Archery Club has been a jumping off point for the team so that we have a starting point once a range is set up,” McRoberts said. “We go through form, cool things about archery, how to prepare, and generally just hang out!”

Archery club meets every Friday in room T214 during lunch, but as of now, there is no set time frame for when students can start joining the team. When the team is eventually created, Bosquez said it will accept archers of all skill levels and economic backgrounds.

“We haven’t been able to get shooting for this semester for reasons out of our control,” Bosquez said. “However, we did get a $20,000 grant, I believe, so we can use it to buy bows, arrows, targets, and a curtain backstop.”

The grant, which comes from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, will amount to $70,000 split between Blackshear Elementary School, Brentwood Elementary School, Kealing Middle School, and LASA. According to McRoberts, LASA will likely get a slightly larger portion of the funds to cover the upfront costs of starting an archery team. 

“We will use it to buy equipment, probably hire a coach, fund state and nationals, and waive fees for people who can’t purchase their own bows,” Mc Roberts said. “We will have team bows for people to use if they don’t want to purchase one.”

Archery is a combination of a team and individual sport as archers shoot for both their own scores and to improve the team’s. Each archer can score up to 300 points in a tournament while the team score is made up of the top four boys scores, top four girls scores, and next best four scores from either the girls or boys. The heavy teamwork dynamic is what draws people to the sport, according to Davis.

“Archery is a very repetitive and monotonous sport, and the most fun aspect of it for me is getting to shoot with other people,” Davis said. “It sort of takes away the pressure and adds some friendly competition.”

Freshman Simon Windler participated in archery throughout elementary and middle school, but stopped the sport during the COVID-19 pandemic. They attend archery club meetings and hope to join the team when it starts up.

“I started archery at my elementary school in third grade at my school’s archery program,” Windler said. “I joined my school’s team in fifth grade. We got first in state and then fourth in the country… I liked being part of a group that is working towards a common goal as a team, I also liked meeting all the different people who love archery as well.”

Archery also encourages positive mindsets, according to McRoberts. It requires immense mental control, to the point where it is considered a type of meditation by McRoberts due to the amount of focus and self-control it requires.

“You’ve got to work on staying calm, taking your time, and moving on if you have a shot that’s not great,” McRoberts said. “If you do poorly one round, you focus on the next thing, you work on what’s in front of you because you can’t let it drag you down.” 

Similarly to McRoberts, Windler supports the claim that perseverance is necessary for archery, but it isn’t the only thing. According to Windler, emotional control can also make a large difference in an archery tournament.

“The trick to archery isn’t being the fastest or the strongest or even having the best strategy,” Windler said. “It’s about being able to stay calm, stay in the zone, and prioritize consistency and being able to go with the flow.”

Despite the fact that physical strength isn’t a main factor in archery skill, that doesn’t mean that the sport is automatically easier than others. According to Davis, taking shortcuts and ignoring technique can hurt archers in the long run.

“My favorite part of archery is the aspect of getting what you put in,” Davis said. “If you slack on consistent form, it will be increasingly apparent in scores. There’s no cheat code to success.”