Archery Shoots for Continued Success through New Changes


Among the new changes instituted by the Warren Hills Archery Team are Wednesday morning practices. (Photo courtesy of Emma Martin)

Alana Padilla, Staff Reporter

The nationally competitive Warren Hills Archery Team has made changes to maintain its competitive standing this year and beyond.

These changes, made for the 2022-23 school year, include morning practices and letting middle-school archers practice – even letting them compete in the upcoming season. 

“I feel that being exposed to the high school practices and the way that things work with the high school practices will help me get used to being on the high school team when I get to high school,” said eighth-grade student Abigail Smith. “Also, I think that it will help me become a better archer because I have seen the high schoolers, who have more experience, shoot.”

The Archery Team competed in the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) tournament in Kentucky last year. The NASP is an in-school program that lets grades 4 to 12 compete in archery to learn focus, self-control, discipline, and a lot of other attributes to help students in life and school.

Since the 2022 season, the NASP has helped more than 18 million students become archers. Archery is one of the few sports where boys and girls can compete together.

Archery varies from state to state and from school to school. For instance, it can be an outdoor or indoor sport. And it doesn’t matter if a participant is tall, short, fast or slow. The NASP emphasizes that the sport can work for everyone.

Warren Hills archers agree that the NASP is a great way for them to interact with other students from different schools.

Last year, when Warren Hills students went to Kentucky to compete in the NASP competition, archers competed as individuals and as a team.

The Warren Hills team placed in the bottom third last year, but the nationwide competition is tough, and the Warren Hills program is smaller than many other programs. So to be able to compete competitively, one Warren Hills goal is for the program to grow in order to become more successful.  

Thus, the new changes, with an emphasis on preparing middle-school archers for competition, are designed to help with such growth. 

Coach Mark Smith, a teacher in Warren Hills Regional High School’s Technology Education Department, said new morning practices on Wednesdays were added to improve performance.

Archery is all about preparation and muscle memory, and the best archers shoot a little every day, ” he said. “Due to gym availability, we don’t have luxury, so we have to get creative. We are hoping that Wednesday mornings will allow students another opportunity to practice.” 

This change will be beneficial for students in different ways, said team member Jennifer Umana, a senior. 

“While it is a time that not everyone can commit to, it still is a window of practice we can take advantage of outside the usual Tuesday/Thursday afternoon practices,” she said. “Any chance is better than nothing – whatever gets us the edge by the time state and national competitions come around.”

Archers from the middle school also get to compete and practice on the high school level to prepare them for competition in their later years.

Overall, the changes that the Archery Team is making this year will help the archers improve now and into the future, Smith said.