L-R: Aidan Collins, Hannah Collins, Olivia Huffer, Meghan Collins, Coach Joey Todd, Pete Collins and Head Archery Coach Robert Turner.NEWBERRY – The Easton Foundations Regional Archery Center of Excellence has brought local, national and international attention to Newberry.
Robert Turner, head archery coach, explained at the City of Newberry Commission meeting last Monday how Easton-Newberry Sports Complex has developed since its opening three years ago, and is now a training facility for the community as well as international archers. “We have the best archery equipment in the country,” Turner said.
The Australia native is also working to increase the popularity of archery in schools, exposing students to the sport.
Commissioner Jordan Marlowe, an archery coach at Newberry High School (NHS), said the school is one of 60 schools in Alachua and Marion counties taking advantage of the program. The organization bought Newberry High School $5,000 worth of bows, targets and arrows, he said after the meeting.
And Easton has offered to pay for any school that wants to train a teacher to be a certified archery coach.
The archery club started two years ago and had 16 athletes last year. The team participates in the Easton Foundations’ Olympic Archery in School Mail-in Tournament.
The coaches submit the athletes’ peak scores and medals are given to the top 10 scorers in each division. NHS had the top boy athlete last year.
Turner said the next step is to have a local and national competition amongst the schools. Texas, New York and California schools also utilized a similar program. Florida and California have the largest number of schools.
“We’re excited about archery in Newberry.” Turner said. “It was a big step for Newberry to take on this facility and invest money.”
Newberry went out on a limb and the risk paid off, he said, adding that Newberry offered a progressive look at sports and made an excellent decision to bring the facility to the community.
The complex is in the beginning stages to become a world archery training center with the World Archery Federation. There are only four such existing centers today, and Newberry would become the fifth.
Turner said they are also working with hotels to provide shuttles and a place to stay for traveling athletes.
Easton has a distinct tie to this year’s Olympics. Eight teams from Chile, Canada, Romania and two other countries, as well as Team USA Archery have been on site earlier this year to practice. Turner said Olympic archers to keep an eye on during the games are Denisse van Lamoen from Chile and Crispin Duenas from Canada. Both athletes have trained at Easton.
“The Olympics is a big part of our history,” he said.
In addition to a 30-second commercial featuring the facility, which will air on NBC throughout the Olympic games, Easton will be hosting an Olympic party to celebrate the games and archery on Aug. 4 at 2 p.m.
“Movies like the ‘Hunger Games and ‘Brave’ are creating a boost for us, Turner said, adding that Easton will be viewed as a valuable training facility in the next three years.
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