Navajo Tech Archers Shooting Against the Big Schools at National Championships

A story about the Navajo Tech archery team.

On February 14, 2013, Navajo Technical College (NTC) was granted membership into the United States Collegiate Archery Association (USCAA) after competing as a club sport since 2008.

The USCAA is the national governing body for college archery in the United States and is responsible for providing local, state, regional, and national competitions and selecting the international university archery teams.

Navajo Technical College’s admission into the USCAA will allow NTC to begin competing against colleges and universities throughout the United States and will make them eligible to compete in the Western Region of the U.S. Collegiate National Indoor Championships at Southern Utah University in Cedar City, Utah this weekend from March 1 – 3.

“Joining an association like the USCAA is a good thing for the college because competing on the national level opens us up to a lot more schools,” said NTC Athletic Director, Christine Reidhead, in a press release. “There are a lot of Division I programs and high profile schools that will be competing so we’re excited about joining.”

“This is a huge step for us because as the college grows, the interest in athletics increases,” Reidhead continued. “The demand is more than there and it will help attract other students and athletes, which will help the college as a whole.”

While this will be the first time NTC’s archery program will be competing on the national stage, Navajo Tech has had success competing at the club level and against other tribal colleges. In the 2012 American Indian Higher Education Consortium archery competition, NTC placed first in both the men and women’s divisions while also earning individual titles from Collins Woody of Crownpoint, New Mexico and Deanna Charley of Thoreau, New Mexico.

During the competition NTC outdistanced themselves from schools like Sitting Bull College and Fort Berthold Community College, but in the USCAA, NTC will be competing against schools such as California State University – Fullerton and the University of California - Irvine. Woody and Charley will be competing in the Basic Bow Division this weekend in addition to NTC archers Ryan Whitehair and Lakoda Joey.

Because of NTC’s success against other tribal colleges, NTC archery coach Clyde Henderson believes NTC will be able to compete against some of the nation’s top schools.

“I think they’ll do well,” Henderson stated, according to the NTC press release.. “They’ve been putting in the hours at practice, but I think what will be new for them is the target distance and format and scoring. But we have experienced archers and we feel good about it.”

In addition to archery, Reidhead stated that NTC is looking to build up all of its athletic programs as the college makes a push towards becoming a university. Reidhead said NTC will be applying to join the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics in October and has being doing a lot of groundwork in submitting an application. Reidhead also stated that Navajo Tech would break ground for a new gymnasium in late April.