Payton Bellings May – If you would’ve told me at the beginning of my freshman year that I would be signing with a college to continue my archery career, I would have thought you were lying. At that time I had no idea that collegiate archery was even an option. Up until last year, I had absolutely no idea how vast the collegiate archery world is, and I promise that there is more to it than what you may think. While the amount of schools that offer it may be limited, archery is one of the fastest growing sports in the country at the moment right now. As of the 2022-23 school year, there are 78 colleges with archery programs registered through USA Archery. Out of those 78 colleges, at least 25 of them are currently offering scholarships for participation.
Collegiate archery gives participants the opportunity to compete at regional, state, and national levels. There are both collegiate target and 3D national tournaments held every year, along with national tournaments through other organizations. Most collegiate teams travel to local tournaments put on by organizations such as NFAA and ASA. The best part about collegiate archery is that most schools pay for travel and boarding for these tournaments, making it an easily accessible way to be active in archery. Most colleges also have connections with bow shops close by so that bow tuning is accessible and easy. There are different divisions of collegiate archery, such as fixed pins, open, and even bare bow, meaning that there is a division that works with equipment very similar to the equipment used for NASP®. At some of the tournaments that collegiate teams compete at, there will be people seen competing with Genesis bows.
As I mentioned before, I have signed with a college to continue my archery career. I recently signed with Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa and I am very excited to see where this new archery journey will take me. While it will be a lot different than what I am used to with NASP®, I feel as if my time in the NASP program has prepared me well for this. Knowing tournament etiquette and already having previous experience with dealing with high-stress situations through NASP® will help me out tremendously going into this.
If you have ever wished you could do archery beyond high school, I would highly recommend looking into collegiate programs. There may even be a school near you that offers archery!
Payton Bellings is a 2023 student contributor.