Indoor archery championships in MLT this weekend

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    USA Archery logoBy Doug Petrowski

    Archers from throughout the region will be gathering in Mountlake Terrace this weekend for a taste of national competition and the hope of winning regional and national awards, and perhaps, a spot on the USA Archery National Team.

    The Nock Point, 22313-70th Ave. W., is one of 11 sites nationwide to host two events, the 44th U.S. National Indoor Championships and the 2013 JOAD (Junior Olympic Archery Development) Indoor Championships. Competitive rounds in the JOAD tournament at The Nock Point begin Friday, Feb. 22, at 2 p.m.; the U.S. National competition takes over on Saturday at 9 a.m. and continues through Sunday.

    Participants in the two tournaments will be competing for regional awards to be presented on Sunday, and for national awards against the archers competing at the other regional sites throughout the country. Placements at indoor championships are also considered when USA Archery is selecting members for the national team that competes internationally.

    The indoor championships are often the first exposure to national competition for many archers, said USA Archery spokesperson Teresa Iaconi. “It’s a fun way to introduce newer archers to a national event,” she said, noting that the 18-meter indoor ranges aren’t as challenging as outdoor competitions, and the regional sites make it easier for archers to attend.

    Registration for the 180 spots in the tournament sessions at The Nock Point filled quickly, evidence that interest in the sport is high. “We’ve seen a huge increase in the sport’s popularity,” Iaconi said, noting that archery club memberships are up 30 percent over recent years. “Archery was the most-watched sport of NBC coverage during the first week of last summer’s Olympic Games,” she stated.

    “There is a social acceptance of the sport now; it’s not just something Grandpa did in the backyard. The sport is badass,” Iaconi added.

    Interest in archery has risen most among young people, and Iaconi thinks she knows why. “It has a lot to do with Hollywood. The Hunger Games, The Avengers and Brave all came out within a six-month period last year just before the Olympics,” she explained. Then the success of the US Olympic Archery team at the London Games pushed the sport’s enthusiasm level among youth to new heights. “Kids who got hooked on the sport due to the movies now had real heroes to look up to,” she said.

    There will be plenty of young people competing in the two tourneys this weekend in Mountlake Terrace. Eighty of the 180 competition spots are in the JOAD tournament. Some competitors will be below the age of 12.

    You can see a complete schedule of this weekend’s events at The Nock Point here. The weekend includes an opening flag ceremony, national anthem and opening remarks from Washington State Lt. Gov. Brad Owen and Mountlake Terrace Mayor Jerry Smith on Saturday at 12:30 p.m.

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