The Lincoln East Archery Team is exemplifying skill, talent, and camaraderie


Photo by Courtesy of Zoe Hoffmeyer

Members of the Archery Team at the NASP Regional tournament that was held in North Platte this year. Left to Right: Head Coach Kendle, Gabrielle Stoner, Reagan Richters, Taylor Alfred, Ben Kendle, and Zoe Hoffmeyer.

Every Monday from November to March, the 30 Lincoln East Archery Club members meet at Prairie Bowmen Archery Club to collectively improve their craft. Their practices last from 4p.m. until 6p.m., and many members arrive early with their bows in hand. The team uses a simple compound bow that’s regulated by the NASP (National Archery in the Schools) program. The bow’s titled as the NASP Genesis Bow, and it comes with 30” aluminum XX75 arrows that glide seamlessly when released.

Since 2002, the NASP has put a bow in the hands of over 18 million young archers all over the country. Archery teams compete every Saturday, with every season ending with the archers striving to make it to nationals. In order to make it though, the teams have to do well at the state shoot. Which means that each team has to shoot a certain number of points in order to advance. Saturday, March 19th, 2022 was the state shoot this year and the East Archery Team unfortunately missed going to nationals by only seven points. This is a rare occurrence as the team has gone to nationals almost every year since its conception in 2013. And the talented junior Taylor Alfred has already been to nationals three times in her seven year career.

“[Nationals] are always super fun…We get three days there, and we get to explore a lot of the city aside from just shooting,” Alfred said. “In the shoot, there are several archery vendors that you can shoot with. It’s a really cool experience!”

Aside from going to nationals, the Lincoln East Archery Club has also found success at the state level, having come up third in 2017 and being the state champions in 2018. Because of the wide range of students giving archery a shot, the talent/success pool has only continued to expand over the years. There are over 15,000 students who participate in the National NASP Tournament, and over 800 at the Nebraska State Tournament every year. Senior Zoe Hoffmeyer has been in the archery club all throughout highschool, having discovered archery in 8th grade.

“…we like to joke around and have fun,” Hoffmeyer said. “But we also work hard on the goals that we set for ourselves. We care a lot about our teammates and support them no matter how they shot that day.”

All in all, archery is a sport that has no age limit, doesn’t demand a certain mile time, and that can be enjoyed as a carefree activity, or a serious sport. And it’s important to note that trying out the Archery Club doesn’t mean that someone’s enrolling themselves for the next competition. No one will force anyone to be in the next match, but if an East student does want to participate, they’re more than welcome to.

“Most people do compete… the competitions are only difficult if you make them so,” Alfred said. “It’s really up to the mental strength of the archers.”

If interested, the most important thing to do is to dip your toes in the water. Experience what the archery club is like firsthand, and then decide if you want to keep going. And if you don’t have a bow that’s okay, the team will happily lend you one of their extras. It’s a good idea to get involved with archery now, because archery’s a lifelong sport that students can continue well after NASP.

“To anyone who wants to join or is thinking about joining next year, I would tell them to join,” Hoffmeyer said. “It’s so much fun and anyone can do it no matter their strength or ability.”