Submitted by Tina Katzenberger.
On Saturday, March 11 the Lopez Archery Team traveled to Darrington to take part in the Washington State Archery Tournament. Athletes Jack Bullock, Davis Doherty, Jesiah Gibson, Mason Hays, Finn Katzenberger, and Will Nichols, and their coaches Becca Hamilton and Alisa Ball attended. They were joined by several of the team’s parents and siblings who cheered eagerly.
Both Coach Hamilton and Coach Ball have archery experience. In early 2021 Ms. Hamilton, a 5th-grade teacher at Lopez Island Schools, received an email about the National Archery in the School Program. After review, she thought the sport would be a perfect fit for Lopez Island. She asked her colleague Ms. Ball, Speech Therapist at Lopez Schools, to join her in starting an archery program. After training in Spring 2021, they became certified NASP instructors. A grant applied for and received from NASP and funds from the Lopez Island Education Foundation allowed them to purchase the needed equipment, including 13 Genesis youth compound bows, arrows, an arrow curtain, and targets.
Because archery lends itself well to academic concepts in Math, Physics, and History, Ms. Hamilton incorporated it into her 5th-grade curriculum in the Fall of 2021. The program blossomed from there. The Lopez Archery Club was formed in the Spring of 2022 with over 10 students participating. The club is open to ALL Lopez Island students in grades 5 through 8. Spring practice is held after school once a week.
In Fall 2022, Coach Hamilton chose a group of students who did well or showed further interest in advancing their skills to form the Lopez Archery Team. Six students joined and practiced twice a week for eight weeks in preparation for the state tournament. “Unfortunately, practices conflicted with Middle School basketball so the team was missing some amazing lady archers,” reports Hamilton.
Reflecting on the archery program’s evolution and success Coach Hamilton states, “In their effort, dedication, and deportment the team members are ambassadors of the true spirit of sportsmanship and competition. All Lopezians have good reason to be proud of them.” Final competition results are awaited patiently and will be available after the conclusion of the two-weekend March tournament.