Navajo Tech Archery Team Sweeps Awards in the Western Region of the U.S. Collegiate National Indoor Championships

A story about the Navajo Tech College archery team winning awards at the national indoor archery championships.

 In its first participation in the United States Collegiate Archery Association (USCAA), the Navajo Technical College (NTC) archery team swept the award stand in the Basic Bow division in the Western Region of the U.S. Collegiate National Indoor Championships.

NTC was paced by first place medalists Collins Woody of Crownpoint, New Mexico in the men’s division and Deanna Charley of Thoreau, New Mexico, of the women’s division but also received second place medals by Ryan Whitehair of Kayenta, Arizona and Lakoda Joey of Crownpoint.

NTC archer Ryan Whitehair (second from right) takes aim at the U.S. Collegiate National Indoor Championships. The tournament took place March 1 – 3 in Cedar City, UT.

The tournament took place March 1-3 at Southern Utah University and included competition from schools throughout the western portion of the United States. Navajo Tech has been competing in archery since 2010, but this was their first appearance in collegiate competition.

 “At first I was nervous for our archers not knowing how the range was going to be and some of the formats,” explained NTC archery coach, Clyde Henderson. “But after we got an introduction to the shooting format things went a lot smoother. By the time we left I felt pleased with our performance and proud of the archers we brought.”

The competition consisted of two rounds of shooting over the course of two days. In the first round, Henderson stated that the archers were nervous and a little off the mark, except Charley, who shot a team high of 331. Although Woody only shot a 293 the first day, he came back strong in the second round and shot a 344. Charley was only able to shoot a 284 the second day, but it still distanced her from the rest of the competition to secure her a first place medal.

In achieving their second place medals, Whitehair shot a 255 the first day and a 244 the second day. Joey had shot a 168 the first day and came back with a 186 in the second round.

In addition to shooting individually, NTC’s archers participated in the mixed teams event, where each archer was paired with shooters from other colleges and universities. Of all of NTC’s archers, only Woody’s team advanced from the first round when his team shot its way to the finals where they fell short of a championship by four points. On his team, only Woody used a basic bow, whereas his teammates Malcolm Keetso of Northern Arizona University and Darriyan Shepard of Dine’ College used compound bows.

“We’ve been saying we want to shoot against better competition, and I’m appreciative of the people who made it happen,” Woody stated. “There was a bigger playing field and we got to shoot against bigger schools and seasoned shooters. It was exciting.”

“We’ve been the building blocks as far as the archery program goes for the school, and we’ve come a long way,” continued Woody, who has only been shooting competitively for two years. “It’s a great feeling and, hopefully in the future, we’ll still have members who are motivated to keep it going. I’m glad to say I’m from this community and to represent the school means a lot to me.”

The NTC archery team will next be traveling to Green Bay, WI from March 18 – 20th to compete in the AIHEC championships. After that, Henderson will prepare a team for the National Outdoor Championships in May. The competition will again take place at Southern Utah University.

NTC archer, Collins Woody, shoots during the finals of the mixed team competition as Darriyan Shepard of Dine’ College looks on. Woody was paired with Shepard and Malcolm Keetso of Northern Arizona University and fell four points short of winning first place.

For more information about NTC’s archery team, contact Clyde Henderson at 505-786-4300 or by e-mail at chenderson@navajotech.edu.