CONGRATULATIONS to the J-L Archery Team that competed in the state competition at CMU on March 12th.
Congratulations to the Archery Club for finishing in 8th place at last Saturday's state competition at CMU.
Local archers to compete in Saturday's state tournament at CMU
GAYLORD – Three local teams will compete in the Eighth Annual State National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) Archery Tournament on Saturday in the Student Activity Center on the campus of Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant.
Gaylord St. Mary, Johannesburg-Lewiston, and the Gaylord Christian Home-schoolers of Northern Michigan (CHNM) will send archers to the event in hopes of qualifying for the national tournament and gaining invaluable experience in front of several other teams in the state.
This event marks the first time it will have each team participate live at a central location. In the past seven years, the tournament has been scored virtually.
Regardless of the location, St. Mary has high expectations Saturday.
"I'm hoping we'll be at the podium at Central Michigan, and there's no reason we shouldn't be," St. Mary coach Mike Lawnichak said. "But you never know, you have to shoot and there will be mental pressure. In the past, we’ve always been a great shooting team in our own environment, but when we get out of own environment against other schools, you never know what will happen."
St. Mary, which rosters 34 archers, returns senior Caylee Lawnichak to the tournament. She was the 2013 state champion and ranked the No. 1 archer in the Michigan Girls High School Division last season. It also returns eighth grader Bryce Seidell who finished fourth in the Boys Middle School Division.
"Our strength has always been with our girls," coach Lawnichak said. "We have strength in Caylee, because she's done it before. She's been in the 280s all year.
"Bryce shot a 297 at a practice this year, and he hovers around 290 to 293."
Coach Lawnichak expects Saturday's tournament to be a warm up for the 2014 NASP National Tournament on May 9 at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Ky. However, he said the biggest challenge this season has been the winter weather. To combat it, he has adjusted practices to improve how many shots the archers take each day.
“It’s been a tough year with too many snow days," he said. "So our practices are shorter because we’re concentrating more on quality of shots than quantity of shots. We’re trying to make our shots in practice more thought out and a better shot.”
Last season, Carey Bragg of CHNM finished fifth in the Boys Division in the tournament, while Anastashia Bragg finished second in the Girls Division. Anastashia Bragg, now a senior, should compete with Caylee Lawnichak for the state title on Saturday.
For the J-L archery team, it's a whole different story.
They're an upstart program with only a month of practice under their belt. With the help of local donations and the tutelage of assistant Jeff Nowak, they have really taken off in their first season.
"When we first got the program going, Jeff Nowak took classes with me to become basic archery instructors," said J-L coach Curt Chrencik who is also the school's principal. "Jeff has done so much. The big part of our success is because of him. We both certainly have a passion for bow hunting, but he certainly is a traditional bow hunter and does a lot of work with the fletching and critiquing of the bows."
Today, they have 17 archers and all of them will compete Saturday at CMU. Students who don't normally play sports have joined the team along with a few athletes from other sports.
"When we got this thing going, we didn't know if we'd have two kids of 50 kids," Chrencik said. "Now we're getting kids who are normally not involved in other sports who are getting a different experience. We also have kids who do participate in other sports who are part of our team as well."
Chrencik expects Saturday's experience to help build the foundation of the program for years to come. He also expects interest in other students to increase after word of mouth gets around school about the tournament.
"We want to learn, have fun and shoot our best on Saturday," he said. "It'll be a learning experience for us. We've only been practicing since January, and that was the first time many kids even picked up these bows. We're going to use the techniques we've learned and some of our instruction.
"We want them to experience where we're going to go with things and where our expectations are going to take us."
GOOD LUCK TO OUR ARCHERY TEAM!