Photo Caption: In partnership with the National Field Archery Association, Mount Marty College will launch the newest collegiate archery program in the Midwest in 2017-18. MMC Lancers Jamie Van Lent, Class of 2013 (Nursing), and Jarod Myer, Class of 2012 (Nursing), practice their skills at the NFAA Easton Center, the largest archery facility in the world, which will also serve as the training and competition facility for the MMC Lancers Archery team.
January 5, 2017 — Mount Marty College (MMC) recently announced its new U.S. Collegiate Archery Association (USCAA) program for the 2017-18 academic year. Launched in partnership with the National Field Archery Association (NFAA) Foundation, the MMC program will be the newest collegiate-level archery program in the United States and one of only four Midwestern collegiate archery programs registered with the United States Collegiate Archery Association (USCA).
An emerging sport in the United States, collegiate archery is on the rise, says Chuck Iverson, MMC athletic director, and the college expects steady growth from the new program.
MMC Lancers Archery will train and compete at the largest archery facility in the world – the NFAA Easton Center, the organization’s headquarters. The NFAA, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the sport of archery, is the largest field archery association in the world, with 49 chartered state associations and nearly 1,000 affiliated clubs.
“MMC and the NFAA have had a close relationship since the NFAA moved its headquarters from California to South Dakota and built this facility in 2009,” says Josahan “Jos” Jaime-Santacruz, programs director for the NFAA Easton Center and coach for MMC Archery’s inaugural year. “With the NFAA Center being such a large, comprehensive archery facility, and with MMC’s history of strong college sports, a partnership between the two came naturally.”
With buzz already circulating about the program among prospective student-athletes and the archery community, Jaime-Santacruz is optimistic about the upcoming season, as well as the program’s potential for growth.
“There are many young archers participating in local youth programs that would love the opportunity to get a quality education and continue competing in archery,” Jaime-Santacruz says. “My job is to provide them with coaching to continue their archery careers and give them opportunities to compete.”
Britta True, MMC Archery assistant coach and assistant programs director for the NFAA Easton Center, agrees that the skill and interest are there. Actively recruiting these academically and athletically talented students-athletes, she says, will be an important aspect of her job.
“I’m looking forward to working with the team and motivating student-athletes to identify, develop and exceed their standards,” True says. “Competing hard at tournaments is a goal, as well as maintaining a consistent approach of excellence in everything we do.”
Iverson says they hope to start the archery program with at least eight new students-athletes, with a goal of eventually retaining around 25 MMC students on the team.
As the program progresses, Jaime-Santacruz expects MMC’s influence in the larger archery community to grow as well.
“I anticipate that a varsity program in Mount Marty will influence the growth of collegiate archery programs in the Midwest,” she says. “There are clubs and other teams that have student-athletes eager to compete but are not seeing enough tournaments within a reasonable distance to keep the program active for the academic year. Having an established program at the largest archery center in the world means we can accommodate just about any tournament format collegiate teams are looking for year-round.”
The NFAA Easton Center, she says, has already been host to every collegiate archery event the Midwest region offers, and having a team to highlight its accessibility, and with the support of the NFAA Foundation and the U.S. Collegiate Archery Association, will only help in its growth.
“Ultimately, the goal is to offer a pathway for archers who start the sport as kids to use archery to get a quality education and then continue on to their professional careers as stewards of the sport and proud Mount Marty alumni with a unique resume,” Jaime-Santacruz says.
Tournament season for collegiate archers is January through May; from May to September, archers have tournament options for U.S. open national rankings, as well as some collegiate tournaments in September. MMC archers will compete in the following tournaments during the spring 2017 semester:
- USCA Indoor National Qualifiers, Jan 20–22 in Yankton
- USCA Indoor National Finals (for top eight archers in each bow division), Feb. 10–12 in Las Vegas
- NFAA Midwest Indoor Sectionals, Feb. 25–26 in Yankton, South Dakota
- State Indoor Championships, April 1–2 in Yankton
- First Dakota Classic, April 28–30 in Yankton
- USCA Outdoor Nationals, May 11–14 in Yankton