The Brandeis Archery Club is one of 21 club sports teams on campus. This week, the Justice had the chance to learn about the team and their upcoming indoor national competition. 

Historically, the earliest record of archery was from around 10,000 BCE when ancient Egyptians and other cultures used bows and arrows to hunt, as well as in warfare, according to a 2006 World Archery article. Later, with the rise of gunpowder, archery quickly transitioned to becoming mainly a competitive sport. The first reported archery competition was in 1583 with approximately 3000 participants, according to Sport History by World Archery. 

The Brandeis Archery Club divides itself into two groups: the competition team and the non-competition team. The competition team is currently composed of nine members who practice three times a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays, and will be competing in the 2022 USA Archery JOAD Indoor Nationals on Feb. 25-26 in Fiskdale, Massachusetts. Non-competition members are invited every Sunday to practice. These Sunday practices are “open” and allow anyone to come and learn. After some time and experience in the open, an individual may be asked to move up to the competition team.  It was clear that no prior experience is necessary when joining the archery team. In an interview with the Justice, club president Wes Baker M.A. ’22 stated that, “99% of people who join the archery club have never done archery, and so we take members from never having touched a bow to competing in competitions around the country.” 

In comparison to other schools, Baker stated that, “We are very warm and welcoming to both students who have participated in archery before and those who haven’t, and [we] even encourage anyone who is interested to come try the sport. In many other college archery clubs, if you don’t have any prior experience before college, then the barrier of entry is too high, so it’s primarily only open to students that have prior experience.”

Archery competitions are organized into rounds called ends, which are made up of three arrows where an individual can earn up to ten points per arrow. Each person participates in 20 ends, with three arrows each, totaling up to 600 available points. This format of the competition is called a 600 round. For indoor archery competitions, the winner is usually awarded in order of individuals with the most points. For the upcoming indoor nationals, the team  remain in Massachusetts. This is because “it’s indoor nationals, and hypothetically conditions are going to be the same, regardless of the location. Therefore, almost every state has its own location where you can shoot and the scores are put together by the national organization, [who] ultimately announce the winners. This is very convenient and less costly to participants, since we don’t have to travel too far to compete,” said Baker. 

Other schools in the area that have archery teams include the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Wellesley College, and Harvard University. 

Like many other club sports, the archery club took a hit during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is because some team members did not return after the initial wave of COVID-19 sent students home. Restrictions surrounding open practices also hampered the team, “Everyone is sharing the same equipment. When you are done shooting with your bow, you hand it off to the next person.” Baker said. Since then, restrictions have lessened; however, there still is a way to go before the club runs the way it did in pre-pandemic years.