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Koteewi Park hosts Indiana’s first USA Archery Field Nationals

Field Archery

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The country’s top archers are targeting Noblesville this week for the USA Archery Field Nationals.

The Indiana Archery Corporation and USA Archery are hosting the tournament at the Koteewi Park Archery Range. Practice rounds started Sunday morning and the competition runs through Wednesday afternoon.

In standard competitive archery, targets are often at a known or marked distance in an archery range. However, as the name suggests, field archery usually involves more rugged and variable terrain.

IAC President Jim Shackelford compares the difference in disciplines to hitting golf balls at a driving range versus actually playing at a course.

“It’s in the woods,” Shackelford said. “They try to make it as, as extreme as possible so that there’s uphill, downhill, side hill. It’s very demanding.”

According to organizers, about 130 archers are competing this week.

The first two days of the competition, archers will be competing for national titles based on age, gender and bow style.

On Monday, competitors will be aiming for targets at unmarked distances, and can’t use their equipment to help them determine the distance.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, competitors will know the distances, but the targets are set further than the previous day.

Afterward, the remainder of Tuesday and into Wednesday, the top eight competitors in each division will shoot for a chance to represent the country at the World Championships in Canada later this year.

While the field archery isn’t an Olympic event, nationals are still drawing some star power. Former archery world champion Paige Pearce says this kind of competitive archery can be very technical.

“This is a whole different ball game,” Pearce said. “It is very difficult. It takes a lot of time … It’s kind of fine-tuning your own personal system, [finding] different tips and tricks to try and figure out how far that target is.”

Olympian Brady Ellison will compete in his fifth Olympics in Paris this year. He says he likes the uniqueness of this discipline.

“It’s fun,” Ellison said. “You get to walk around in the woods. It’s a lot more on an old school and it’s just the one tournament a year that’s different.”

This year is the first time Field Nationals is held in Indiana. Shackelford says it’s a full-circle moment.

“It’s awesome,” Shackelford said. “One hundred and forty-five years ago in Crawfordsville, the National Archery Association was chartered. It’s now USA Archery.”

The competition is free and open to spectators. For results and a full schedule, click here.