Brandeis archery soars into semester
Brandeis archery secretary Arlyss Milne aims for the target with serious focus.
The Brandeis team is growing and getting more successful every season. Many aspects of popular culture have contributed to the increase in the popularity of the sport, including movie hits such as “Robin Hood,” “The Archer,” Tomb Raider,” “Wonder Woman,” “The Avengers,” “The Hunger Games,” “Kubo and the Two Strings” and Disney’s “Brave.” The Brandeis Archery Club team has continued to increase its membership yearly.
One aspect of the archery club is that they are welcoming to all members, regardless of their skill set in the sport. "No experience necessary" is what team members tell new prospects, and most of their members had no meaningful experience prior to signing up at the Involvement Fair. As Captain Wes Baker ’20 said, “Anyone who wants to join is able to show up to club practices where members from the team provide instruction and equipment to use completely free of charge.” Club practices are on Tuesday and Thursday from 6-8 p.m. and Sunday from 4-6 p.m. and the competition team practices on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday from 6-8 p.m. During the indoor season, practices are in Multipurpose Room of the Gosman Sports and Convocation Center. Once the outdoor season starts, the practice times change slightly and they use the club sports field for longer distance shooting. What is important for prospective club members and present club members to know is that they can practice as little or as much as they want— no minimum level of commitment is necessary when being a club member. However, when a member obtains more experience and when they are able to shoot a qualifying score, they are invited to join the competition team. Accepting the membership to the competition team is again entirely voluntary, but more serious members have this as their first goal.
Member of the competition team, members have more commitment responsibilities. They are required to be present at every competition practice, which are the two hours following club team practices, and to begin looking into purchasing their own equipment. As a side note, the club does have relationships with large retailers, so equipment can be bought at a discount. Having your own equipment is necessary for tournaments. For the 2019-2020 season, there are 30 club members, including five graduate students and approximately nine competition members.
The archery club’s coach, E.G. LeBre is a major reason that we are able to exist as a club sport according to Baker. LeBre has been in the worldwide archery community for decades. He is one of the coaches of the U.S. Paralympic Archery Team and was one of the coaches for the U.S. Archery Team at the World University Games that took place recently in Italy, where Lebre received the 2018 National Collegiate Coach of the Year Award.
Outside of the practices the team holds several bonding events from movies nights to an occasional party. Also, bonding occurs on long van rides and at hotels for competitions. Members eat together and generally hang out between events, encouraging each other before their next competition and sometimes just goofing around.
This year, the Archery team’s first tournament of the season is in Fall River, MA, for "The BOO" shoot at Buckley Family Archery on Oct. 12. In total, the team expects to compete in at least three tournaments this semester. Next semester, Brandeis will host a tournament on March 14, called the Shamrock Shoot. Finally, the team has plans to send either three or four members to the compete in the U.S. National Outdoor Collegiate Championships in Chula Vista, CA, on May 14-17, 2020.
Last year, Baker received the All-American Academic Team Award. This award is given out to any collegiate archer that places in the top quarter of their division at the Indoor Nationals and has a GPA of at least 3.6. LaBre was especially proud, since this was the first time that anyone from Brandeis had received this award.
With the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo coming up, next year may bring another increase in membership to the Archery Club team as the sport once again gains worldwide exposure.