This Sport Hits the Bullseye

With one eye tightly closed, the student’s focus appears as straight as the arrow notched into the drawstring. Poof––a whisper reverberates in the room as the tension in the drawstring snaps. There is a brief moment of silence before the arrow smacks into the center of the bullseye––a perfect score.

Our Mountain View Middle School archery team recently placed second at the L.A. Regional competition and will soon proceed to the 2024 OAS California State Championship on Saturday, April 20 in the city of Chula Vista thanks to the excellent coaching skills of Coach Sprenkle and Erin Ellsworth. 

“Archery is very much about form. It is surprising how the smallest adjustments to stance, grip, or draw can affect the arrow. Competition becomes a mental challenge,” explains Coach Sprenkle. This attention to detail reflects the art of the sport. Competitors are scored with each arrows placement on a round target as small as 60 centimeters. But it isn’t as simple as grazing the target. The scoring is staggered based on the arrow placements, with the small center of the target offering the most points. And all of this is required while being timed and nearly 30 feet away.

Aside from learning the proper form and gaining arm strength, the sport also instructs students on maintaining discipline and environmental awareness. “Archers utilize stretch bands to practice the form before they are ever handed a bow and arrow,” says Sprenkle. “We spend the first few weeks going over whistle commands that are used to ensure all archers remain safe,”. 

The whistle commands involve a set of codes known by the archers. Two whistle blasts to line up to the shooting line. One whistle blast to shoot the arrows. Three whistle blasts are sounded when the range is clear and it is safe to retrieve the arrows. Multiple blasts means everyone is to immediately stop, return their bows to the rack, and wait behind a safety line. Of course, there are plenty more rules around safety. And Sprenkle is adamant everyone who steps foot on the range is fully aware of every one.

Several of the District schools have archery teams, including Beaumont High School, San Gorgonio Middle School, and Mountain View Middle School. Contact the specific school for specific information about archery or any other athletic program.


By Thomas Guzowski