Archers compete at Nationals without leaving home gym

Along with the qualifying teams from Highland Park, Lamar Middle School, McCallum takes scholastic archery’s most prominent stage

ONE LAST TOURNAMENT: With freshman teammate steading to shoot his arrow, senior captain Marianna Torres DeLine releases her arrow during a 15-meter round at the 2021 National Archery in Schools Program National Archery Tournament. The tournament was Torres-DeLine’s last NASP tournament.  “The fact that I was able to compete at that level was insane.” After four years of working to get the McCallum archery program, Torres-DeLine finished her senior year competing in her first national competition with her team. In her debut at nationals, Torres-DeLine scored 270 points to finish second among McCallum archers. She recorded eight bullseyes. Reporting by Sophie Leung-Lieu.

The competition was really tough for the McCallum cluster archery teams this year. The teams they had to beat to get to nationals were tough enough, but COVID made the challenge of having any season, let alone a competitive one, much more difficult.  Due to COVID-19, the archery team could not practice together indoors for most of the season, so they practiced outdoors thanks to the support of Central Texas Archery.  When they were finally able to practice indoors, they had to do it in flights to maintain social distancing.

Eighty-five archers braved COVID, inclement weather and constant adversity to make our season a reality. Heroes come in all sizes, and there are simply none more amazing than our student archers.”

— archery coach Jim DeLine

Despite these hurdles, McCallum cleared the way for its first appearance in the National Archery in the Schools Program national tournament with a successful showing at region where they did well enough to qualify for state and at state where they qualified for nationals.

The national competition took place at Lamar Middle School on May 1. The event was hosted by Ski Shores Cafe in the Lamar Middle School Gym on May 1. There was no trip to nationals to mingle with other schools because of COVID; instead, they met at Lamar, shot their arrows, recorded their scores and waited for their results. At the event on May 1, Coach Jim DeLine, coach and father of captain Mariana Torres-DeLine and the 2021 NASP National Coach of the Year, praised the team for its determination, dedication and perseverance.

“Eighty-five archers braved COVID, inclement weather and constant adversity to make our season a reality,” DeLine wrote in the program that was handed out at the national competition. “Heroes come in all sizes, and there are simply none more amazing than our student archers.”

In this week’s Tuesday Top 10, we are pleased to share our exclusive images and captions from the archery team’s competition in the NASP national archery tournament.

ONE LAST TOURNAMENT: With freshman teammate Milo Conner steadying to shoot his arrow, senior captain Marianna Torres DeLine releases her arrow during a 15-meter round at the 2021 National Archery in Schools Program National Archery Tournament. The tournament was Torres-DeLine’s last NASP tournament.  “The fact that I was able to compete at that level was insane.” After four years of working to get the McCallum archery program, Torres-DeLine finished her senior year competing in her first national competition with her team. Competing with her team for the first time at nationals, Torres-DeLine scored 270 points to finish second among McCallum archers. She recorded eight bullseyes. Reporting by Sophie Leung-Lieu. Photo by Dave Winter.

BRAINS OVER BRAWN: Coach Jason Boulette has been NASP certified since 2017 and has coached consistently alongside Coach Jim DeLine since 2019. Boulette is also the father of two archers in the Highland Park and Lamar teams: Ben and Luke. In the last flight of Nationals, Boulette shows sophomore Nick Boehle what target he is shooting at. “Archery is more about mental discipline over raw physical ability,” Boulette said. “As a result, students who have competitive drive can compete, and typically outperform, with those who are simply naturally athletic.” Reporting by Sophie Leung-Lieu. Photo by Anna McClellan.

COACH’S FOURTH NATIONALS: Coach Jim DeLine holds a special place in the heart of the archery community. Every family, archer, parent and supporter is extremely grateful for everything he has done to make archery happen this year. Following winning NASP Coach of the Year, DeLine concludes the 2020-2021 season by hosting his fourth Nationals tournament. “I have never been more proud of an amazing group of young people,” DeLine said. Given the circumstances of COVID, typos on the programs, and any other inconveniences, DeLine said “We showed up. We competed. And each of our teams finished in the top 25 percent of the entire nation.” Reporting by Sophie Leung-Lieu. Photo by Anna McClellan.

FROM THE BEGINNING: Freshman Milo Conner (shown here) and freshman Sophie Leung-Lieu are the only two archers in Coach DeLine’s program to competitively shoot in teams from three schools. In 2017, they shot at Highland Park; from 2018-2020, at Lamar; and now, they are shooting as part of the McCallum team. “It’s a great community with lots of support from our coach,” Conner said, adding that he plans to continue archery during his three remaining years of high school. Reporting by Leung-Lieu. Photo by Ellen Fox.

GERALD THE TARGET SCRAP: Because her coach, Jim DeLine, was named the 2021 National Archery in the Schools Program Coach of the Year, eighth-grader and Lamar Archery co-captain Sadie Swinney presents him with a framed target scrap as a congratulatory gift from the Lamar team, one of the three teams that DeLine coaches. “Someone on our team shot this huge target scrap off a target at practice,” Swinney said. “After we looked at it, we realized it looked like a face, with an arrow hole for an eye and a tear for the mouth.” Reporting by Sophie Leung-Lieu. Photo by Anna McClellan.

GERALD AT THE TABLE: “Target scrap Gerald” sits alongside the trophies to be awarded during an informal team competition sponsored by Ski Shores Cafe. “Someone on our team shot this huge target scrap off a target at practice,” Lamar co-captain Sadie Swinney said. “After we looked at it, we realized it looked like a face, with an arrow hole for an eye and a tear for the mouth.” Swinney framed it and asked the whole team to sign it as a gift for their coach. The frame sat on the trophy table at Nationals. Reporting by Sophie Leung-Lieu. Photo by Anna McClellan.

Junior Garrett Michulka prepares an arrow during the first flight of the National Archery in the Schools Program national tournament. Michulka, an assistant co-captain along with Eli Frank, has been on the team since the first year at Lamar in 2017. Reporting by Sophie Leung-Lieu. Photo by Ellen Fox.

LEADING LINES: Senior Mariana Torres DeLine pauses for a moment before checking her arrows to determine her score for a set of five arrows. Each archer tabulates their own score under the supervision of tournament officials. Torres-DeLine scored 270 points to finish second among McCallum archers. She recorded eight bullseyes. Reporting by Sophie Leung-Lieu. Photo by Ellen Fox.

GENEVA’S FIRST NATIONALS: Sophomore Geneva Miller shoots at her first ever national tournament. Miller shot in the last flight of the tournament. “I remember staying up late with my friend the night before and thinking ‘THIS was nationals and our scores were important,’” said Miller, who scored 259 points for the team with four bullseyes. Miller has been on the team since the beginning of her freshman year “This is the first big tournament I’ve done,” she said. Reporting by Sophie Leung-Lieu. Photo by Anna McClellan.

CHARACTER COUNTS: The McCallum archery team has been shooting at Central Texas Archery on their outdoor range during the pandemic year of 2020-21. At the national tournament session at Lamar Middle School, Coach Kat Davis and Tyler Davis from Central Texas Archery award senior Captain Mariana Torres-DeLine with a Character Counts Award at the end of the first flight. “Learning archery is so much more than getting a 10 on the target,” Kat Davis said. “The lessons that can be learned through archery include mindfulness, patience, resilience, and trust in oneself. We wanted to create an award that would showcase the character and sportsmanship the archers in the AISD NASP teams brought to the sport.” Reporting by Sophie Leung-Lieu. Photo by Ellen Fox.

PERFECT 70/50: Freshman Owen Johns, the McCallum archer shooting at Nationals 2021, is now infamous for shooting a perfect 70/50 at the Texas State competition earlier this year. OJ had shot four bullseyes and had one left to receive a perfect score. Since the targets located at state are very old and worn, arrows tend to bounce out. OJ’s last arrow bounced out of the 10 (bullseye). He was then given another arrow and did the exact same thing, bouncing the arrow out of the 10 onto the floor. On OJ’s third replacement arrow, he shot it directly into the 10, and it ricocheted back so far that it almost injured him. He caught the arrow in between his arm and his rib and the surrounding archers were in fear that he was hurt. Thankfully, he was not and continued to be one of the most successful archers in the McCallum team. Reporting by Sophie Leung-Lieu. Photo by Anna McClellan.

ATTABOYD! At an April 25 practice session at Highland Park Elementary School in preparation for the national archery tournament, freshman archer Vivian Boyd scored a perfect round of 50 by shooting all five arrows in the yellow circle for 10-point bullseyes. It was the second time this season that Boyd had achieved a perfect round in practice. She wasn’t too shabby at the national tournament at Lamar on May 1 either. She was the top scorer for her McCallum team at 278 with 14 bullseyes. Photo by Anna McClellan.

MONARCH OF ALL HE SURVEYS: Jim DeLine surveys the crowd of admiring parents after doing a final cheer with his archers, who surprised him after practice on April 25 with the news that they had nominated him and he had won recognition as the 2021 National Archery in the Schools Program Coach of the Year. “None of this happens alone. It just doesn’t,” DeLine said. “You just have to have people that will believe in you, people that will support you and and you know, it truly is a reflection of what can happen when a community comes together because of kids.” Photo and reporting by Anna McClellan.

YOU’VE GOT A FRIEND IN HIM: Mac archers  Oscar Friend and Mason Walker prepare to shoot arrows during the third flight of the NASP national archery tournament. The two finished within four points of each other when all the points were tallied. Walker had the higher overall score at 229, but Friend shot the most bullseyes (four). Photo by Anna McClellan.

OVER SEVEN YEARS IN THE MAKING: Coach Jim DeLine and senior Mariana Torres-DeLine embrace after finishing the archery season. “Ten years ago, we had no idea where we would be today,” Mariana said. After four years of hard work, the father-daughter duo were finally able to lead the McCallum team to nationals. “There is no way to predict ‘hope’ from the perspective of resolve and steadfast courage,” said Coach DeLine, the NASP National Coach of the Year. “Nationals gave us everything to build on and nothing to be ashamed of.” McCallum finished tied for eighth among Texas high school teams that competed at nationals. The team scored 3,156 points and shot 88 bullseyes to place 167th out of 247 high school teams across the nation. Reporting by Sophie Leung-Lieu. Photo by Ellen Fox.