Flames archers fine-tuning for indoor nationals qualifier
January 25, 2017 | Lynchburg, Va.
Eleven members of Liberty University's men's and women's archery teams will be targeting bids to the Feb. 10-12 United States Collegiate Archery Association Indoor National Championships in Las Vegas with top-eight finishes at Saturday's and Sunday's regional competition at the West Kentucky Archery Complex in Madisonville, Ky.
Besides graduate student Ian Rigney, Liberty's most decorated archer who will be competing in the men's compound division (his final event unless he qualifies for nationals), the Flames will have a spectrum of categories represented.
"We're bringing our most diverse team ever," Liberty Head Coach Mitch Reno said. "We've come a long way. We don't have a men's Olympic recurve archer yet, but the team's growing and getting better, and it's increasing our odds. The more people we bring, the better chance we have at bringing home more trophies."
Sophomore Meredith Dissinger, who, like Rigney, placed 10th at last year's event, will compete in the women's Olympic recurve, while senior Josh Daugherty and juniors Jason Lynch, Alex Saylor, and Spencer Foster will enter the men's bowhunter division. Jonathan Perkins and freshman Justin York will compete in the men's compound division, sophomore Emily Mullins will enter the women's bowhunter category, junior Susannah Martin will shoot in the women's barebow competition, and Evan Blanthorn will compete in the men's barebow event.
"We've added some really good shooters since last year," Reno said. "Our ultimate dream would be for six of them to make it to nationals to compete for the gold medal. We would be really happy if three or four made it."
The Flames and Lady Flames have sharpened their focus in practices since their return for the second semester.
"We've been practicing every night last week and this week," Reno said, noting that they are using indoor facilities in nearby Madison Heights until the new shooting sports center is built across the street from the Hydaway Outdoor Recreation Center. "Amherst Arms and T.R.U. Ball Archery have been great, very hospitable in allowing us to use their indoor ranges for free, and we're very appreciative of it. In a year, when we have our own facility, it will be even better for the team. We're definitely excited about it and looking forward to it."