Local archers let their arrows fly at the Canadian National Archery Championships last week, striking a few podium spots along the way.
A five-member crew consisting of Adam Pitney and his sister, Krista, along with Brittany Johnson, Darby Dean and Jordan Adachi, all made the trek to New Brunswick to take their shot at the best Canada has to offer.
Led by Cranbrook Archery Club youth director Elaine Johnson, the crew headed to Woodstock—not the same town that hosted the legendary music concert—and spent just over a week competing in three different categories.
To kick things off, they challenged for the Fred Usher Cup, a team competition for provincial teams to go head-to-head.
With three names drawn at random, three of the Cranbrook Archery Club shooters went up against Alberta and scored a substantial win. Quebec was next up and the two teams were deadlocked after the final round.
“These guys shot their socks off and it came to a tie, so they each had one arrow and they tied again,” said Johnson.
“So what it came to, was X’s. We had one arrow in the X and they had one arrow in the X.”
Quebec was able to gain an edge through a handicap scoring system and advanced, eventually capturing the cup.
The team then moved to a 3D shoot, then into field and FITA (french acronym for Federation Internationale de Tir à l’Arc) events, but had to fight with some pretty disruptive weather.
“Out here, we can prep for the wind, because we can get some place, we can prep for the heat and the bugs, but how do you prep for rain?” said Johnson.
“…The kids had a really, really rough 3D round and then the girls had lost their marks, but they said, all in all, the courses were really good and quite difficult.”
The humidity also played a factor, Johnson added.
“Everything just changes,” she said. “Their arrows are doing things they don’t normally do, their strings are stretching, so it was a challenge, but they all did really well.”
However, things eventually cleared up for the FITA portion of the event. Johnson took a gold in field and a silver in FITA. Krista Pitney won a silver in field and in open, along with a bronze in FITA, while Darby Dean took a bronze in field, and two golds in FITA and open.
Three of the five shooters—Brittany Johnson, Adam Pitney and Darby Dean—will head to the World Juniors in China in October.
All three agreed that the outdoor nationals was a good experience that will help when they’re on the field in China.
“[At] nationals, I shot with most of the people that I’ll be going to China with,” said Adam Pitney, “so it helped me get to know them a little better, and I know what I’m going to be shooting with when I get there, so that helps, that helps a lot.”
While nationals featured the Canadian cream of the crop, there was also some international shooters that came out, which was helpful for Brittany Johnson.
“There was also some U.S. visitors, so I watched how they shot and saw how good I should be shooting, because they’re very good,” she said.
The three constantly practicing at the outdoor archery range and hope to shoot well in China, regardless of how they place when it all finishes.
“I want to always remember that everyone else is competing and trying to do just as good as everyone else is, so I don’t want to become full of myself, and I don’t want anyone else to do that either,” said Dean.
“I just want to remember that I’m a proud Canadian and I want to represent Canada in a good way.”