Washington Evening Journal

Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Nov 17, 2017

A shot at becoming a marksman

By Hunter Tickel | Nov 14, 2013

For the first time since its inception a year ago, the archery program at Washington High School will host an organizational meeting ahead of the season for parents and students.
The meeting is Friday at 6 p.m. in the main gym.
This is the second year that Washington has put out an archery team.
Last year it was just the high school and junior high level. This year it has added age groups down to the fourth grade.
“I have 12 other volunteer coaches that have been helping,” said coach Jolleen Cerka. “There are four coaches at the elementary level, seven at the middle school and three to four for high school.”
Last year the high school had 25 shooters. Cerka is hoping this number will bump up to 90 combined students across the  elementary, high school and junior high.
“I did have a sign-up at the high school and we have 30 out there,” Cerka said. “I was glad to see that many kids come out last year. We had a productive year. It was a good first year.”
The team competes on Saturdays with several hundred archers sometimes at the competitions.
“We go to different tournaments on Saturdays and compete against other schools in eastern Iowa,” Cerka said. “Some competitions have approximately 350 archers shooting against each other. Some tournaments have 850 people.”
The shooting sport has three rounds of five arrows with one bow at 10 meters. Then shooters take another three rounds at 20 meters.
The target has 10 point categories with the smallest circle in the middle counting for 10 points.
“You can take as many individuals to a tournament (as you want), but only the top 12 score,” Cerka said. “The top scorer for an individual two rounds can be 300. To qualify for state the team has to score so many points at these tournaments. You basically have to score 6,000 points.”
Washington qualified for state last season in the team’s first season.
Washington is the lone school in the area to have an archery team.
“It is a program on all-volunteer basis,” Cerka said. “The Athletic Union doesn’t support it at the moment. That has put a halt to some of the schools getting involved in the program.”
Archery is a unique sport because it allows students both talented and untalented to compete.
“Come to our organizational meeting and learn more about the program,” Cerka said. “It is a good opportunity for young people to try something new. We have all kinds of people that are competing. You could have a disability and compete. We have some kids that are out for other sports competing. Come out and try it. It could be the one of the best things you have ever done.”

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