2 Victoria teens participate in archery world championships

Jan. 8, 2012 at 11 p.m.
Updated Jan. 7, 2012 at 7:08 p.m.

Hunter Barthels sizes up his target during the USAT Tournament in San Diego.

Hunter Barthels sizes up his target during the USAT Tournament in San Diego.

Pick or pluck a hair, any hair will suffice. The width of that hair is literally the distance that segregates elite archers.

A pair of Victoria teenagers, Allison Williams and Hunter Barthels, had that experience over the weekend as they participated in the World Archery Indoors Championships Team Trial.

Though their target was no larger than a penny, Allison and Hunter advanced beyond the initial qualification stage onto the finals, where both narrowly missed spots to represent the country in the sport.

Hunter, 16, finished fourth in the compound junior competition, meaning he is the first alternate for the Senior U.S. Archery team. Allison, the daughter of Bruce and Dana Williams, is a 17-year-old senior at Victoria West, finished fifth in the compound junior competition.

"I have been trying to do this my whole life," said Hunter, who began shooting with a plastic bow, but began to take the sport more seriously five years ago. "I have been trying harder and harder every day. I have been building up for this since I was three years old. I am excited that I had all the resources to have the opportunity to be here."

Two resources Hunter and Allison noted were instrumental in their advancement in the sport have been Tom Barker and Gene Kacir. The former is the Director of Operations at Victoria-based Straight Arrow Archery Learning Center, while Kacir, pronounced ka-sear, is the director of instruction.

Both narrowly missed out on making either the boys or girls U.S. Archery team as only the top three finishers in Sunday's competition made the team. Nevertheless, the experience made the two yearn for even more accuracy the next time they are 18-meters away from their minute targets.

"Honestly, I wanted to try my hardest," Allison said. "I knew that was all I could do. I made a few mistakes, but I learned from them, which is all I can do now."

The eight finalists used a round-robin format to reveal those that would make the boys and girls teams. Barthels uses a 59.5 pound bow, while Williams uses a 38-pound bow, but both said the mental aspect of the sport is far more demanding that trying to hit a target from 18-meters indoors, or 60-meters outdoors.

"You are going to have a lot of competition that are better than you and some of them will try to get in your head," Williams said. "You just have to be the stronger person and not let it get to you. I had a person (Sunday) try to throw me off my game, but that just made me stronger."

Last weekend's trials were comprised of eight events - four for boys/men and four more for girls/women - broken down by the type of bow used. Williams and Barthels use a compound bow, which was created in the 1960s by Holless Wilbur Allen and supposedly easier to shoot than the recurve bows that might come to mind when someone thinks of archery.

Neither local marksman has used the recurve that much in their archery adventures. Barthels' father, Russell, has been a bowhunter for years and always used a compound bow. Meanwhile, Williams became an archer after her friend Taylor Sizemore - himself an archer - suggested she try the sport when she was nine.

As easy as it might appear to some, archery is far from that. Barthels played football at St. Joseph as a freshman, but elected to focus on his promising archery career. This fall he spent as many as four hours a day honing his craft.

Hunter's mother, Brandi, who accompanied the two to Pennsylvania, joked all her shooting over the weekend was not done with a bow, but a camera.

"As I hear them do their mental preparation, and they prepare both mentally and physically, they are both excited," Hunter's mother said prior to Friday's qualifying round. "But they have been preparing for months. They are so ready to go. They are looking to have fun because they are coming to have a good time and represent Texas."

Indoor archery might not have as many variables as outdoor archery, which only illuminates the importance of every shot. The smallest misses can, and do decide, matches.

Hunter's mother, Brandi, who accompanied the two to Pennsylvania, joked all her shooting over the weekend was not done with a bow, but a camera.

"As I hear them do their mental preparation, and they prepare both mentally and physically, they are both excited," Hunter's mother said prior to Friday's qualifying round. "But they have been preparing for months. They are so ready to go. They are looking to have fun because they are coming to have a good time and represent Texas."

Sunday, three of Hunter's seven matches went to a one shot shoot-off. Though he lost all three, the St. Joseph student shrugged off two of those losses because the first was by a centimeter and the second was by a more miniscule margin.

Hunter, nor Allison, may have made their respective U.S. Olympic teams, but both were happy and proud to have qualified for the trials - and said as much before and after competing.

"I know I just have to keep on trying," Barthels said. "That's the reason I didn't play football, I was trying to concentrate for the Olympic team. I just know that I have to keep on practicing and trying my best."


SHARE


Comments


Powered By AdvocateDigitalMedia