Just one year into its existence, the Apache Bowbender archery team has proven its among the best in the state.
Mescalero students went to the National Archery in the Schools state tournament at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho March 8 and finished third overall. Individually, Dalton Hamilton was third with an individual score of 277, just 13 points out of first place.
He weekend was more successful than coach Godfrey Cordova could have imagined, considering this is the first year Mescalero has had an archery team.
“I just went there to learn, and didn’t expect to place,” Cordova said. “It was a good experience for all o us. We did a lot better than I figured.”
The Bowbenders were among nine high schools registered or the tournment, which also had divisions for middle school and elementary. Cordova said those programs for young students are the key to success.
“We’d like to start that here next year, at least in the middle school,” Cordova said. “The high schools that did the best had programs for the younger kids.”
One quirk the Mescalero archers had was their speed. All archers are given three minutes to loose 15 arrows at a time, from 10 and 15 meters. The Bowbenders were usually waiting for the whistle while most other teams were still shooting right up to the whistle.
“I told the Game and Fish officials they shoot that way because their ancestors did,” Cordova said. “If they weren’t firing fast, they weren’t going to survive.”
For taking third, Mescalero’s team earned a trophy, while Hamilton earned himself a Genesis compound bow.
Cordova is excited for the future of this program and looks forward to being able to take an individual or team to the national event.
“We have support from the administration and the town,” Cordova said. “This is something we want to continue.”