Kearns teen wins state archery championship
Few athletes will say the key to winning championships is practicing less. For archer Jenny Howard, however, keeping her fingers rested and ready led to her success.
The Kearns teen was named grand champion of the high school division at the annual National Archery in the Schools state championships in February at the Salt Palace Convention Center. Howard, a sophomore at Kearns High, earned 244 out of 300 possible points during competition.
“Last year I kept practicing all the time and my fingers got sore,” Howard said. “They were so sore I wasn’t able to aim right. I would hold it for a second before my fingers gave out. This year, I didn’t practice as much and shot better. I held the arrow longer and focused on the position I wanted it to go.”
More than 180 students from 10 schools competed in the event, sponsored by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. The sport is said to teach discipline, patience and self-confidence. Participants used a 25-pound composite bow to shoot 30 arrows (five per round) at a stationary target. Half of the arrows are shot from 10 meters (33 feet) away, and half from 15 meters (49 feet).
The highest possible score for each arrow is 10, earned when a participant hits the yellow bullseye in the center. Howard earned three or four bullseyes in each round of competition.
“You’ve got to be able to know where to shoot the arrows,” said Howard, who also plays tennis at Kearns. “If you position it up, the arrow heads downward. Once you catch on, it gets easier.”
Howard, who turns 17 in November, attended Thomas Jefferson Junior High before enrolling at Kearns. She participated in last year’s national championships but didn’t place.
“It was a good experience and it showed me what to do to be better the next time,” she said.
For her efforts, Howard, who has competed in archery since the beginning of ninth grade, received a plaque and a compound bow. She plans to continue in the sport as long as she can. Her younger brother, Josh, 13, also participates in archery competitions.