Every timer Brooklynn Novak looses an arrow, she seems to hit a medal. The 16-year-old athlete with the Quesnel River Archers club won a silver and a bronze at the BC Winter Games in March, and when Quesnel hosted the provincial indoor championships at the curling centre in April, she excited the hometown fans with another silver medal performance.
What’s especially impressive is how quickly she shot up the provincial rankings.
“I started in September of 2021,” she said. “During COVID, my little brother Parker wanted to try and I went to watch a couple of times and I thought ‘that looks fun’ so I decided to give it a try, too. I started off with a recurve bow. It’s like a traditional bow you would think of when someone says archery. Then I got a hunting bow shortly after that, and after shooting with the hunting bow for six months or so, I got my target bow.”
During the winter months when the club shoots indoors at their downtown facility, she shoots five days per week. Now that the outdoor season is about to start she expects to be shooting every Tuesday, Sunday, “and whatever other day of the week I’m free.”
Her coach, Dale Chapplow, lets her progress at her own pace.
“I’ll just shoot, and if he sees something I need to work on, he’ll tell me and we will work on that a little bit, until I get the hang of it, and then he will bring in a new thing I’ll have to work on,” she said.
Her family is thrilled that she has an activity she’s so passionate about. She even surprised herself, since she is a natural introvert.
“I don’t really like sports that involve a lot of other people or rely on a team. I like it when it’s just me,” she said.
It is also a sport that translates to real life, since she is interested in hunting.
It has also provided lessons in fierce perseverance. She won her BC Winter Games medals battling through an injury she sustained pulling arrows out of a target during the event. She subluxed her shoulder (more than once), which is when the joint dislocates and pops back into place on its own. When it happened in the middle of the competition, amongst the best archers of her age in the province, “I thought it was all going to go down and I wasn’t going to place any medals, but I just shot through it and got a second and a third and it felt really good.”
Well, not the shoulder, that felt terrible. It happened to her bow-side shoulder so whenever she would start to draw the string back, and then when she had to hold firm to take aim, it was an exercise in pain management as well as precision.
It was healed by the time the provincial championships in Quesnel took place, and she was able to firmly assert her position in the B.C. shooting world with a dominant silver medal performance.
Now she has national aspirations. That’s her next target.
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