Archery on the rise at Easton Newberry
Published: Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, August 4, 2013 at 12:22 a.m.
Robert Turner gets fired up talking about archery.
As head coach of archery at the Easton Newberry Sports Complex, Turner has reason to feel proud. Earlier this week, the U.S. Olympic Committee designated the multi-sport facility as a Community Olympic Development Program for archery.
The Easton Newberry complex is one of just 10 programs nationwide to receive the Olympic Development designation.
“We're really excited to be part of such an illustrious group,” Turner said. “Obviously, what it says is what we're currently doing with our program is the right things, that we are trying to connect with our national governing body, USA Archery, and the Olympic committee into creating more Olympic Development and development of athletes towards the Olympic Games.”
Under Turner's guidance, the archery program at Easton Newberry has grown steadily since 2009.
“We started off very small in 2009, from very few people in our classes to now having over 200 people in our classes,” Turner said. “On a weekly basis, it's something we're very proud of. We have league nights and adult classes and beginner classes.”
That's helped produce quality local archers at both the youth and adult level.
“When we first started (at) this building, we had four or five state champions,” Turner said. “Now we have over 60 state champions this year. This year, we've had more national champions in our program than we've ever had in the years previous altogether. Some of our youth have taken the concept of archery and really running very, very well and getting excellent results on a national scale.”
The Easton Newberry program produced a pair of national champions a few weeks ago at the U.S. National Target Championships in Hamilton, Ohio.
Hala Skelton and Meghan Collins, both of High Springs, won national titles in the women's compound and recurve cub (under-14) division.
“Young Hala Skelton has only been shooting for one year and in one year's time she's already won national championships, even won a bronze at the world indoors,” Turner said. “So it's showing how our programs, our coaching, our facilities, our equipment is of the highest caliber when a young lady can come in at 13 years of age and can become a national champion in under a year.”
Turner is hopeful that the Olympic designation will help attract and develop more quality youth archers in the coming years.
“We want to do as much as possible,” Turner said. “Our goals are very lofty to help improve our sport and the archers that come through the door, to help them reach their goals wherever possible.”