Three archers heading to France for international competition
Hunter Barthels and Allison Williams with the Straight Arrow Archery Club will represent the Victoria area and the United States World Archery Team when they compete in France this summer.
Photo by Frank Tilley.
Hunter Barthels prepares to pull back on his compound bow made of anodized aluminum and takes aim on his target at the Straight Arrow Archery Club. Barthels has qualified to represent the United States at the World Archery Field Trials in Val D'Isere, France this summer.
Peering through a scope on her compound aluminum bow, Allison Williams, 18, of the Straight Arrow Archery Club, will represent the Victoria area and the United States world archery team when they compete in France this summer.
The comparisons were almost immediate from people to Allison Williams.
And she found them a little trite.
"Everybody started calling me Katniss, and I said that's not my name," Williams joked. "I was doing archery before it was cool."
With the recent blockbuster "The Hunger Games" in the forefront of everyone's mind, the connection became obvious to most people. When it comes to the sport of archery, Victoria had Hollywood beat years ago and has the talent to prove it.
Williams, along with Hunter Barthels and Jory Schroeder, will compete for the United States at the 2012 World Archery Field Championships in Val D'Isere, France. All three are current of former members of the South Texas JOAD Club.
Barthels and Williams will compete on the men's and women's junior compound teams while Schroeder will be shooting in the ladies junior recurve division.
The trio qualified for the national team at a competition last month in Spokane, Wash. The U.S. team will compete in 14 different divisions at the World Championships.
Barthels and Williams currently practice at the Straight Arrow Archery Pro Shot and Bow Club in Victoria.
Straight Arrow coach Tom Barker has seen talent flourish in archery in the 17 years he's been involved with the sport in the Victoria area.
"This is what happens when you get a big talent pool, and they start bubbling up and we show them what kind of opportunities they have in different places," he said.
Barker added that this is the 45th international trip for archers from the club in the last 10 years.
Barker said that archery is a discipline that incorporates a strong mental aspect to it, much like golf.
He added that the club gets interest from special needs children, along with kids that have bad knees or don't have the athleticism to compete in mainstream sports.
"The kids can do pretty good pretty quickly doing archery," Barker said. "It's not something that takes 10 years to learn how to do."
Added Schroeder: "It's for all ages. It doesn't limit you."
Barthels was the size of a bow the first time he used one. He said shot his first arrow at the age of 3 with his father standing behind him with the bow and him pulling back the arrow.
Barthels said that although archery may not get the juices flowing like playing football does, competitions require him to get in the right mental state.
"I have to get in the right mood to shoot, and it's all mental pretty much," Barthels said. "It's about 10 percent that you actually shoot, everything else is all mental. If you don't have a good mental game then you're going to get shot down."
Schroeder may have left Victoria, but her love for archery and the lessons learned went with her to Texas A&M University.
Coming into her senior year, Schroeder said her time at Straight Arrow and 4H taught her things like time management that are essential to thrive in college.
"I think that's what helped me the most in college was learning how to donate my time to certain things," Schroeder said. "To practice, to study, to hanging out with friends and stuff like that."
For Williams, it's not just national pride, but a love for the Lone Star State that will accompany her to France.
All three members of the U.S. women's compound team are from Texas.
"It's not just Team USA (that) we're representing, we're representing Texas," Williams said.