NORWICH – After qualifying at the New York State National Archery in Schools Program (NASP) tournament in March, students on the Norwich Middle and High School archery teams will be traveling to Kentucky next month to compete in nationals.
The state tournament took place on March 15 at the New York State Fairgrounds, where the Norwich Middle School archery team took first in both the 3D target and box target categories. After winning first place in the state, the team as a whole qualified to compete in nationals.
Joining the 14 NMS students traveling to nationals will be nine Norwich High School archers, who qualified individually. The NHS squad just fell short of qualifying as a team, earning second place in the state.
"My kids have worked hard," said Norwich archery coach Terry Hagenbuch. "We've been going at this since November of this year, so they've worked real hard."
Every year since the school started its archery program seven years ago, Norwich students have qualified for and competed at nationals. But the last time a Norwich archery team as a whole qualified was in 2015, when the NMS team earned eligibility after winning first place in the box target category states.
"It's been a lot of fun going after school and shooting," said NHS tenth grader Andrew Mullen, who qualified to go to nationals based on his performance in the 3D target category. "I really enjoy it and I know a lot of other kids do too."
Archery has picked up popularity at Norwich in recent years, with 35 students in the club. Unlike other sports, archery is one where the playing field is level for all, regardless of size, gender, or financial standing.
"All the equipment is identical across the country, so the only thing that separates the shooter is the shooter," said Hagenbuch. "Everyone has to use the exact same equipment. It's an absolutely level playing field."