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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado - USA Archery is excited to kick off the 2016 Collegiate archery season. Starting with U.S. Indoor National Championships, competition will heat up fast this spring with intercollegiate rivalries, Junior Olympic Archery Development (JOAD) stars looking to break their way into the collegiate division, and newcomers to the national scene.
The U.S. National Indoor Championships, while early in the season, packs a powerful punch in USA Archery's Collegiate Archery Program. Scores from this event count for qualification for the All-Region Team, the All-American Team and the Academic All-American Team.
Collegiate standout, Emily Bee, a sophomore at Michigan State University who competed in both NASP, JOAD and USAT events growing up shared: "The collegiate tournaments compared to other events, definitely hold a different environment. I would describe most archers as laid back and having fun! That was an environment I was not completely used to. Although, with having fun, I feel most college students have a more competitive edge. With the Collegiate program growing, the competition level is increasing in all divisions."
Columbia University and Texas A&M University have had a longstanding friendly rivalry between women's teams and the recurve teams have gone head-to-head for gold in many national championships. "The rivalry between Texas A&M and Columbia is the best kind of rivalry," commented Columbia University Archery Team Head Coach Derek Davis. "It's respectful, friendly and happens at the highest level. I have nothing but great respect for the coaching staff at A&M. We've known each other for many years and have worked together off the field of play for the development of collegiate archery."
Davis added: "Among the athletes, there have been friendships across the two teams and a general mutual respect and sportsmanship. Rivalries are generally good for sports as long as they remain civil. I expect that of my team and I'm sure the staff at A&M has the same expectations for their team. It's been fun and I hope it continues this way for years to come."
Another rivalry, the annual battle for the National Team Championship award, saw Texas A&M and James Madison University (JMU) finish first and second in 2015 respectively. JMU sophomore Alex Dunham thinks his team may have the edge in 2016: "It's going to be close again, but I think we have a good chance this year. Our team is solid, its all going to come down to how much time we can spend preparing and then being able to perform at the level we know we can."
While many fan favorites return to the collegiate stage this year, the Collegiate Archery Program continues to see tremendous growth: there are now over 750 Collegiate Members and 50 Collegiate Clubs registered nationwide.
Newcomers should not be intimidated to try competing nationally at the collegiate level. Victor Fang (UC Davis) who won mixed team gold in his first visit to National Outdoor Collegiate Championships this past year shared: "I remember being inspired by members of the community when I first started Olympic Recurve a year ago and thinking to myself, 'Wow I hope I can one day inspire others to join the sport and become great archers.' For me, winning the mixed team gold was fulfilling that dream and showed that through practice and dedication anyone else can achieve the same."
If you are an archer in college looking for a club, or a JOAD archer interested in pursuing archery in college, visit our club locator or find out how to start a Collegiate Club today by contacting Collegiate Archery Program Manager Callie Grieser at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-866-3452. The USA Archery Collegiate Program has divisions for archers who shoot recurve, compound, barebow and bowhunter and hosts events on the state, regional and national level so that archers of all backgrounds and experience levels can find fitting opportunities to pursue the sport competitively.
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