Club archery takes to the national stage – The GW Hatchet
The archery club traveled to the 53rd National Indoor Archery Tournament last weekend.
After the founding of GW’s club archery team by senior Tony Moon in February 2020, just a year after it was established as a student organization in 2019, the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed everything the world to return home in the spring of 2020. As a result, Moon had to compete alone until they were allowed to return to campus.
Moon said he used the time to be productive, holding Zoom meetings to set up the board structure and find a practice space closer to campus which is now just 20 minutes away. 30 minutes by car instead of an hour.
Now, the team has had the chance to compete in two tournaments this year, the first being in Lancaster, Pennsylvania over Halloween weekend and the second being the Nationals held in Harrisonburg, Virginia. , by James Madison University, fielding a total of six competitive archers.
Moon said he first became interested in archery during the 2008 Summer Olympics before moving from South Korea to the United States in 2010. He said he had started playing the sport in high school after his mother placed him in a competitive program with a coach for the U.S. National Team.
Before taking up archery, he played various sports including football, basketball, golf and water polo. He said he fell in love with the community surrounding archery and the veracity of the sport.
“Archery is a very honest sport, because everything you do on the shooting line will show up on the target,” he said.
He said the sport is all about focus and preparation and getting into a rhythm as you cross the line.
“I’m a type of person who gets really nervous at first,” Moon said. “So sometimes I made mistakes. But then when I’m really, really in the zone, then even before I shoot the arrow, I’d know that shot is going to be 10.”
Moon placed second in his home division at the competition and finished 52nd overall out of 155 archers in the senior men’s recurve and 25th out of 93 archers in the collegiate men’s recurve. In his last competition for GW, he placed 14th out of 115 entrants at the 2020 Indoor Nationals in the collegiate men’s recurve.
“To be honest about the recent tournament, I haven’t done well,” Moon said. “But that didn’t really matter to me. There was a team behind me. And the fact that I was able to take my team to national competition and then introduce them to archery from a height level and then seeing how it grew from one person to a whole organized club, it was a very rewarding moment for me.
Sophomore Sydney Kang is the current coach of the club’s archery team after serving as chairman during the first half. She placed 45th out of 90 archers in the women’s collegiate recurve division and 79th out of 131 archers in the women’s junior division.
Kang said she also tried many sports before archery, but she said she couldn’t find the right fit.
“I was really bad at it all,” Kang said. “And I hated running, I hated team sports. I didn’t like when people touched me in sports. So they were like, ‘What can we put her in?’ And they were like, ‘Let’s just get the archery going and see if she likes it.’ And it ended up working really well for me.
From there, Kang said she competed with the U.S. Olympic development teams. Kang said she enjoys college competition more because she is more relaxed and has more fun than she did in high school.
She said she considers herself a “retired” archer now that she isn’t as competitive anymore. She said she enjoyed coaching even more than shooting at this point, spending much of her time helping her team members as well as teaching beginners and private lessons at the Nova Fencing and Archery Club where she works.
Kang has not only seen the archers she teaches grow, but also the club team grow.
“I think on Engage we have about 150 people,” Kang said. “We have around 30 people who come to train every week. And then of those we have, about 10 who are really, really interested in the competition, and we’re trying to get more people into it. So that’s our biggest thing, generating our interest in them.
The team had intended to try adding a practice facility to the Virginia Science and Technology campus in the fall 2020 semester, but those plans fell through after the pandemic hit. Currently, Kang said the team is training at the same facility where Moon and Kang work, but they are still looking to secure training space on campus.
Emily Reid is a sophomore as the club’s new president after joining the team as a recreational archer this year only. She placed 76th in the recurve collegiate women’s division and 122nd in the junior women’s division in her first competition with a recurve bow.
She said the most rewarding part of the sport is being able to see the direct results of her individual effort, patience and growth on target.
“With archery, it’s only you – you’re the only one doing it,” Reid said. “You can’t rely on someone else next to you to be able to get the dig, you can’t. Everything should be based on your efforts.