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SEAS archery team qualifies and competes at nationals

Pictured, from left to right, in the back are Head Coach Jeff Dohmen, Ella Dohmen, Colin Maher, Casey Steinmetz, Jacob Landoll, Meredyth Anderson, Coach Matt Anderson and Coach Dan Braun; in the middle are Nolan Guild, Carlie Furlong, Morgan Sherry, Kate Kummer, Emma Butler, Eva Greene and Abi Englin; and in the front are Sydney Sticha, Isabella Kasel, Margaret Macoskey, Marian Tripp, Blossom Mwangi and Peter Clark. Not pictured are Patrick (P.J.) and Thomas (Mas) Noonan. Photo courtesy of Jeff Dohmen

Archery is uncommon in the realm of school-sponsored athletics, but at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton catholic school (SEAS) in Hastings the sport is thriving among their elementary and middle school-aged students. This spring, SEAS’ middle school team (sixth-through-eighth graders) qualified for the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) national tournament in Louisville, Ky. Head coach Jeff Dohmen said that while this is not the first time a SEAS team has made Nationals, this year’s team was different with how they were able to consistently score.

“As a coach, you would hope that some of it is because of al the time you spend with them, however other things I see from the archers are little personal competitions they have with trying to out-shoot their friends and personal best scores,” Dohmen said. “That certainly drives the archers to score higher at each and every tournament and it showed throughout the season.”

The team competed May 10-12 at the Eastern Nationals tournament. Dohmen said it was a valuable experience for the team, even though they did not shoot the best, which he attributed to them shooting in an intimidating environment of almost 300 archers shooting at the same time on the same line.

“This year’s season has been a rewarding one for me,” Dohmen said about the season as a whole. “I love to see the archers succeed with beating their personal best scores at tournaments, and the smiles they have when they come off the shooting line after shooting a good round is awesome.”

Archery was first implemented at SEAS in 2009 under the physical education teacher, Padrick Judd (who left SEAS after this spring for another teaching position). The program is part of NASP, which requires a specific curriculum be taught using what Dohmen called the “11 steps to archery success”. Through NASP, schools can field elementary, middle school and high school teams. With SEAS only going through eighth grade, they field an elementary and middle school team, and due to their size they are allowed to let elementary schoolers compete on the middle school team.

Dohmen said that in order to qualify for nationals, a team must shoot a score of 3,000 or higher at an NASP tournament. The SEAS team accomplished that in all but one tournament they competed in this past season, which ran from December 1 until the national tournament in May. They generally compete in at least six tournaments a season. Scoring in the tournaments go like this -- each archer shoots at a target with 10 rings on it and they earn an additional point for every ring closer to the bullseye that they hit. Each participant shoots five arrows in a round -- one practice round and then three scoring rounds -- from distances of 10 and 15 meters. The total of the six scoring rounds are added up to a score out of 300. Team scores are required to incorporate the four highest boys scores, the four highest girls scores and then the four highest scores of the leftover boys and girls combined for a total of 12.

Competing on this year’s nationals team were Sydney Sticha, Isabella Kasel, Margaret Macoskey, Marian Tripp, Blossom Mwangi, Peter Clark, Nolan Guild, Carlie Furlong, Morgan Sherry, Kate Kummer, Emma Butler, Eva Greene, Abi Englin, Ella Dohmen, Colin Maher, Casey Steinmetz, Jacob Landoll, Meredyth Anderson, Patrick (P.J.) and Thomas (Mas) Noonan. Coaches assisting Dohmen were Matt Anderson and Dan Braun.

Despite its relative rarity, Dohmen said that archery is growing in Minnesota.

“In the general sense of school sports, I agree that archery isn’t that common,” he said. “However, NASP continues to grow and the tournaments around the metro area get larger and larger. This year’s state tournament was held in Bemidji and there were over 1,400 archers that participated.”

Alec Hamilton

Alec Hamilton is a RiverTown Multimedia sports reporter covering Hastings, Farmington and Rosemount athletics. He graduated from Drake University with a journalism degree in 2014. 

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