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The school's archers hit their mark

By Miranda Lu and Pavana Upadhyaya Apr. 28, 2021

Junan Ke Photo

From the moment he shot his first arrow, Joseph Jung ‘21 was hooked. Despite archery being a lesser known sport, Jung decided to continue with the activity, training with the Joy Lee Archery Academy (JLAA) since the seventh grade.

Besides practicing independently, Jung also coaches privately with JLAA coach Josh Smith, a former member of the USA Archery Team. At the start of most lessons and practice sessions, Jung starts by warming up with arm exercises and then practices shooting at different distances ranging anywhere from 30 to 70 meters. He also times his shooting, giving himself two minutes to shoot an entire set of arrows, then retrieving them and repeating the process. After a few hours, he finishes practice with a quick cooldown and reviews his performance.

“In archery, the most important thing is having good form, so I constantly reflect on each shot and listen to my coach’s advice. Examining shots and maintaining focus are key to improving any archer’s form, ensuring that they have the same shot process every time and maximizing their chances of hitting the bullseye,” Jung said.

In addition to practicing, Jung also competes in various archery tournaments, including the annual Grapestakes competition in Sacramento, Calif. and the prestigious Vegas Shoot—the largest indoor archery contest in the world. During most competitions, Jung is required to shoot sixty arrows in twenty sets of three, with two minutes to shoot each set. After shooting, he approaches the targets and scores his arrows, occasionally calling a judge for help if the score is tentative. Scores are updated in real time, and the leaderboard automatically displays his standing amongst other competitors.

“In archery, the most important thing is having good form, so I constantly reflect on each shot and listen to my coach’s advice.”

Similar to Jung, Dongwoo Kwak ‘24 also competes in archery. Kwak started learning archery after an introduction to the sport by a church friend. Now, he takes weekly lessons at HYP Archery Club with coach Hye Youn Park, a current USA Archery Team member and 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials Finalist. Kwak competes in the Young Adult Male Division, and he enjoys participating in tournaments to develop his skill and meet other archers.

Since the pandemic began, both Kwak and Jung have been taking several precautions to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. During coachings and competitions, they maintain social distancing, sanitize regularly and wear masks when not shooting. Both have also virtually attended various tournaments, including the Vegas Shoot.

In mid-April, Kwak participated in the online portion of the tournament. He and other competitors received an email with scoring directions and a printable copy of their official scorecard and were instructed to shoot each round in a scoring group of two to three other participants. They were given a month-long period to complete three 30-arrow Vegas rounds. After completing the rounds, Kwak and other archers were required to submit their scores electronically, a photo of their target from each round, scorecards and the names and target numbers of everyone in their scoring group.

Although contestants have a chance to win large cash prizes and scholarships, Kwak is mainly interested in having fun and honing his skill, and he hopes to pursue archery as a lifelong hobby and enter in more competitions in the future. Meanwhile, Jung is interested in continuing the sport during college, perhaps joining an archery club to improve his shooting.


About the Contributors

Miranda Lu

Staff Writer

Miranda Lu is a sophomore at Leland High School and a staff writer. She enjoys hiking, reading, and watching movies in her free time.

Pavana Upadhyaya

Staff Writer

Pavana Upadhyaya is a sophomore at Leland High School and is a staff writer. She likes to read nonfiction in her free time

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