Michigan State club archery team works hard to prepare for nationals
The student club is aiming for the national championship, training at MSU’s Demmer Shooting Center.
LANSING, Mich. - The MSU Archery team is preparing for its biggest event of the year - Outdoor Collegiate Nationals in Stateburg, Georgia on May 18. The arrival of spring has allowed the team to get outside for practices at the Demmer Shooting Sports and Education facility, located south of main campus.
Michigan State junior Ryan Newcomb said the team prepares for big events by getting excited and maintaining the buzz anticipating its upcoming tournament.
“We practice three times a week. We have a couple hours where we just come in and all go out there together, shoot, listen to music, talk,” said Newcomb. “If you’re serious about it you score yourself - I like to keep a record of how I’m doing and to see if I’m improving and where my average is at.”
MSU Archery has a history of success, with 46 All-Americans and 43 academic All-Americans. These accolades are not taken lightly, and can be credited to the outlook and preparation laid down by Head Coach Glen Bennett.
“It’s not the physical part so much as it is the mental part,” said Bennett. “I would say archery is about 95% mental and 5% physical. That’s the hard part is mental management.”
MSU’s Archery team used to be an official club sport before the Demmer Center was built, when the team used to shoot at IM West on campus. Now, the team is just a registered student organization.
“MSU is fairly well known around here in the Michigan Archery community as the archery school for this region,” said MSU Senior David Kurylo, a mechanical engineering major.
The Demmer Center was built 15 years ago, and Bennett has been around since the start. Bennett also coaches the Junior Olympic Archery Development team (JOAD) at Demmer and was awarded an Olympic Archery award and the Presidential Sports Fitness & Nutrition Award in 2016 - the same year that MSU Archery was ranked third in the country.
Weather is a significant challenge the Archery team faces when preparing for outdoor nationals.
“Everyone that is on the field has to deal with the same predicament - they all have to deal with weather, wind, heat,” said Bennett. “It’s how you learn to deal with that stuff and be able to read what's going on to make adjustments as you are going on to be able to shoot really well.”
Kurylo said the key to being successful in archery is repetition and practice. Members shoot a bunch of arrows and try to perfect their form. Individuals are currently getting in their tryout scores to secure a spot on the Nationals team.
“Once we get a little closer (to Nationals) we’ll start team competition simulations to prepare for putting on the pressure and time restrictions of the event” said Kurylo.
MSU’s Archery team has a GoFundMe (https://gofund.me/56683032) to help send it to Nationals. Bennett expects the team to place in the top 10 or 15 out of about 130 collegiate archery teams. A top 10 performance would be very impressive, both for the team and the individuals.
“I try to convince them that shooting is important but school work is more important than archery will ever be,” said Bennett. “Make them understand that they can get to the point of being an All-American or Academic All-American - that gives them a leg-up when they actually have to go out and get a real job.”