Four archers from Quesnel became Canadian champions last week following the tabulation of a nationwide competition.
“We did very well this year,” coach with the Quesnel River Archers Dale Chapplow said.
Finishing with a first-place national ranking are Sydney Watson in the girls cadet compound bow, Cathy Schaefer in the master’s womens bowhunter unlimited, Wayne Schaefer in the master’s men bowhunter unlimited and Donna Lundren in the master’s womens barebow division.
For Watson, the national title is vindication for a disappointing fifth-place finish at the recent Canada Winter Games.
Not only did Watson finish first nationally, but her score of 587 tied the national record established by Doris Jones in 2003.
“I didn’t feel any pressure,” Watson said to explain her stellar performance for the indoor national archery championship compared to the Canada Winter Games.
Two factors played a role in the record-tying performance, Watson explained.
“I didn’t feel any pressure,” she said.
“It felt like I was shooting practice because I was shooting in my own club.”
Although a national competition, archers across Canada gathered at designated regional archery clubs for the competition and scores were submitted to the Federation of Canadian Archers for tabulation.
Watson also said the absence of pressure enabled her to focus on her technique, something that gave her a bit of trouble at the Canada Games.
“At the Canada Games she was moving her feet all over the place,” he said.
In addition to the four first-place finishes, Brianne Foley, Cindy Hesselgrave and Al Fleck each earned second-place finishes for the national competition.
The seven top-three finishes are a best for the local archery club.
Chapplow admitted the second-place finish for Foley competing in the pre-cub compound bow division was a bit of a surprise.
“I knew she was a good shot, but I did not know she was this good,” he said.
“I was very happy to see her finish in second place.”
Although pleased with his second-place finish in the Masters barebow division, Fleck who has been shooting barebow for 25 years, was especially pleased with a first-time accomplishment.
“I shot a thirty, something I’ve been trying to do in competition for the last 25 years,” a beaming Fleck said.
The score represents three consecutive arrows hitting the centre of the target in one round.
At the national championships, the archers shot 10 rounds of three arrows twice.
Although 25 years might seem like a long time to achieve the feat, Fleck, with a chuckle explained it took so long because it is a difficult accomplishment using just a bare recurved bow.
“The bow doesn’t have a site on it and in competition there’s nerves and pressure,” Fleck, who holds eight Canadian archery records, said.
Without a site, Fleck explained, bare bow archers rely on consistency in the placement of their entire body, shot after shot.
“It takes practice and practice to do this, to be consistent,” he said.
And that is exactly why Fleck switched from the compound bow to the bare recurve bow 25
years ago, the challenge.
“It’s awful hard to get a good score,” Fleck said.