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Neighbors Growing Together | Dec 14, 2017

Archers talk about experience at world tournament

By Bill Gatchel | Aug 09, 2017
Photo by: Bill Gatchel Members of the Washington Archery team taking part in the Worlds competition July 21 and 22, in the front row were Cooper Reed, Kylee Porter, Samantha Mellinger; back row: Griffin Wood, Maggie Morgan and Scott Mellinger.

Seven Washington archers participated in the 3D Worlds National Archery in the Schools Program Tournament in Orlando, Florida, July 21 and 22, and some of them were pleased at how well they did on the national stage even though it was very different from taking part in the national event.

“It was pretty nerve-wracking,” says Cooper Reed, “because I knew we were going to go up against some pretty good shooters from all over the world.”

“I think it was the atmosphere,” Kylee Porter says.

“It was kind of nerve-wracking just knowing it was the world tournament.”

Fellow archer Maggie Morgan agreed.

“It was my first time going to worlds. I didn’t expect it to be as big as it was,” she says.

But the nerves really didn’t get in the way, Reed says.

“Even though it took place where it did, I was with people I knew, so I was pretty confident.”

So how did the archers feel about representing a place like Washington, Iowa, at such a big venue?

“We knew we had to represent us well,” Samantha Mellinger says. “We had to show that we are a good team and we can do as much as anybody else can.”

“The officials there made a comment about wondering where we were from,” Scott Mellinger, one of the helpers with the team, says.

“A couple of the parents mentioned ‘Iowa’ and the officials were surprised to see us because Kentucky and Tennessee is really where the archery program really started.

“As we’ve progressed along, they [the officials] are starting to look at all of the Iowa teams because we are starting to show them that we can do just as much as others or more.”

As for preparing for the world tournament, there wasn’t any more preparation.

“We knew what we were doing for the most part,” Porter says. “It was a good experience.”

“The kids focused a little more on long-distance shooting at the bigger targets in practice,” coach Jolleen Cerka says.

“We knew what targets we needed to work on and which ones we had down,” Porter added. “We just focused more on the bigger animals.”

Not only did the group attend the archery tournament, they did add in some fun.

“I know many people went sightseeing,” Porter says.

“We went to Cocoa Beach as well as the Kennedy Space Center. It was a short trip, so we tried to do everything we could.”

“I know we moved around quite a bit in Orlando,” Reed says.

“We went through Titusville quite a bit to get to places. We did go to Cape Canaveral, which was somewhat close to Cocoa Beach.”

Since the event has ended, they did get to take something away from the entire experience.

“It was to just have fun,” Samantha Mellinger says. “Don’t pressure yourself while you’re on the spot because it’s only a one-time thing.”

“I value the words ‘never give up’ now more than I ever have,” Morgan says.

“I think the whole experience made me think about it more than I have just because I wasn’t feeling the best.

“I had to just try and get over it and stay positive and keep a positive attitude and try to concentrate on shooting my best.”

The entire group has the goal of returning.

“We all want to get better and go back,” Porter says.

“Knowing that we placed as good as we did but thinking if we placed in the top 10, it would be so much more fun.”

“We have the potential to be in a podium spot like first, second or third,” Griffin Wood says. “I think we have a great team and we should be up there with the big shots.”

What about others on the archery team taking part next year?

“It would be nice to have more people go,” Porter says.

“I know it’s all about your family and if you want to go, you can, but it would still be nice to have more go next time. It would be a great experience for everyone.”

“As a whole, I feel all of them have been in the program long enough that the basics are there and even with new kids coming in, those that are involved are teaching the younger ones the basics,” Chris Mellinger says.

“Now we’re to the point where we need to fine-tune to get that score level to where we start getting medals and plaques and even scholarships.”

“It was a cool experience like it always is,” Wood says.

“I was actually surprised that there was a lot of young kids. I’ve never seen a bunch of 9-year-olds at worlds before because the last time we went it was just high-schoolers. That was the most interesting thing that happened to me.”

To get more to the worlds event, this year’s participants offer a challenge.

“I think some take it more seriously than others and some just want to be with their friends,” Morgan says.

“I think that if they took things more seriously in practice that it could up their score by just focusing and concentrating.

“I think at practice everyone needs to focus more,” Porter says.

“I know it’s a long season, but we’re there to have fun, but also there to do well.”

“It’s a long season, but it’s worth it,” Samantha Mellinger says.

The group is already setting individual goals for next year.

“This year, I placed 90th overall for boys and next year I hope that I will get 50 or something like that,” Reed says.

The total team score was 1,637 points, finishing in 21st place out of 35 teams.

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