Sarah Eshman June – At Eastern Nationals this year, there were two thousand, four hundred, and sixty one high school girls competing in the bullseye tournament. Out of this massive number, only five received awards. That means that two thousand, four hundred, and fifty six archers went without recognition- and that’s only out of the high school girls. As someone who has both performed extraordinarily well and below par at a national tournament, I understand the excitement or frustration that comes with each score.
However, both scores have one thing in common. Whether you did great or did horrible, your score contributes to your team score. The team score may seem simple- everyone shoots, they add it up, and then one group turns out to be best. While that’s true, there’s more to it. Everyone on a team has a different score range. It’s extremely rare for all of the archers to shoot within ten points of each other. This difference is what creates the top twelve archers. If you are one of your team’s top twelve, you know that the members of this rank vary wildly.
The very top archers are usually consistent in their place in the top twelve. They often contribute about the same number of points at each tournament. On my team, the top three archers consistently shoot between 285 and 295. Providing more points isn’t their duty- it’s remaining consistent. They create a stable foundation for the rest of the twelve to build on. The top archers are the cornerstones.
However, without the rest of the structure, what’s the point of having the cornerstones? This is why the rest of the archers are so important. The middle of the pack of my team usually shoots in the 275-285 range. They provide the main supply of points for the team score. The team score steadily rises along with their individual improvements.
The lower-scoring archers of the top twelve are the true cherry-on-top of a winning team. These archers are the ones with the ability to add ten, twenty, or even thirty points to the team score. For reference, there was only an eighteen point difference between the first and third high school team at nationals this year. Twenty points has the power to shift national rankings. That’s just one archer making the jump from a 240 to a 260.
This is why encouragement is so important. The lower archers of a team are oftentimes the younger ones, as well. I’ve been on my team for four complete years now, and I can definitely say that I used to become discouraged much more easily than I do now. So be sure to lift up your entire team with positivity, but especially your younger team members! They are the future of your team.
The team score depends on everyone. It depends on the 295 archer just as much as it depends on the 235 archer. If the top archer falls behind, the lower and middle archers work together to make up those points and to keep the team rolling. Teamwork is crucial to victory.
As the 2022-2023 season comes to a close, take the summer as an opportunity to bond with your teammates somewhere off the range! Close team bonds directly affect the quality of teamwork. Good luck to all of the teams and individuals shooting at the Open, and have a great summer!
Sarah Eshman is a 2023 student contributor.