They’ve been practicing for months and now Joel Scheck and Chloe Raynor are set to represent Quesnel at the BC Winter Games as part of the Cariboo-Northeast Zone archery team.
Scheck, 16, has been an archer for six years and is competing in the junior compound division.
“I’m pretty excited about going to the Winter Games,” Scheck said.
“This is my biggest competition so far.”
Scheck’s introduction to archery came at the invitation of friends.
He immediately enjoyed the personal challenge of trying to improve with every round of arrows.
Also adding to the fun of archery for Scheck, a Grade 10 student at Correlieu secondary school, was participating in various competitions, although with six years worth of competition experience tucked into his quiver, he does admit nerves are likely to be his biggest challenge at the BC Winter Games.
“I’m probably going to be pretty nervous,” Scheck admitted.
But Scheck has a strategy he hopes will help get through the initial bout of nervousness.
“I’m just going to try and relax and have fun,” he said.
Staying calm and relaxed, Scheck said, would be the key to a top-three finish, something Quesnel River Archers coach Dale Chapplow said was well within his reach.
“If he shoots the way he has been shooting, I think he has a very good chance,” Chapplow said.
For Raynor, 15, who admits to the BC Winter Games are the antithesis to her personal approach to archery, but admits she is excited and nervous about the opportunity.
“The pressure will be the toughest part,” she said.
“To do well you have to be competitive and that’s a bit difficult for me.
“I’m going for the experience, to have fun and hopefully learn some new things.”
A Grade 10 student at CSS, Raynor says she isn’t a competitive person and when asked why she is going to the BC Winter Games gave an unexpected answer.
“I don’t know,” she said with a shake of the head.
But Raynor quickly added she does enjoy the thrill of being able to hit the target and like Scheck enjoys the personal challenge of improving her scores.
Raynor is competing in the cadet barebow event and shooting barebow which doesn’t have a sight to help line up the target, is not an exact science, Chapplow said.
The added difficulty is precisely why Raynor took up the barebow.
“It’s more of a challenge, every time you aim you basically have to guess to find out where you are aiming,” Raynor said.
Shooting barebow, Chapplow explained, is like throwing a baseball.
“You don’t know how you get it there, you just know in your mind how much arc you need to throw the ball from third base to first base,” he said.
Based on her selection to the Cariboo-Northeast Zone team, Raynor has the right image in her mind to find the target.
“She just gets up there and flings arrows, but she’s very good at it,” Chapplow said.
The archery competition at the BC Winter Games is run just like a world competition. Archers shoot four rounds of 30 arrows and then compete in match play where archers in each division are bracketed based on their score in the initial 1200 competition and top-seeded archers compete against the lower-seeded archers in elimination rounds.
“This is their biggest shoot, it’s going to be tough,” Chapplow said of the format and the competition.
“It’s going to be a good experience for them.”
Both archers have the skill and ability to do well at the Winter Games, Chapplow said.
Their biggest challenge will be nerves and confidence, especially if they shoot a bad arrow.
For that, Chapplow has one reminder for Scheck and Raynor.
“Remember, your competition is human, they’re going to shoot bad arrows as well,” he said.
Dawn Procter, a Prince George archer with close to 24 years experience, is heading the team in Vernon.
Her biggest challenge, Procter said, was to bring the individual archers together as a team.
Practices have helped she said, including a session last Saturday at the Barlow Creek Hall which gave the archers plenty of opportunity to interact.
Procter also took advantage of the practice sessions to develop a rapport with her athletes so that they are comfortable sharing their thoughts with her.
“I asked them to help me help them compete to the best of their abilities,” she said.
“This is the first time they see this high-level competition.
“I hope they come away with the drive to compete more.”