WESTLOCK - With a bow in her hand, 17-year-old Marina Quist is unflappable and picked off a bronze medal at the National Archery in the Schools Program Provincial Championships earlier this spring.
At the single-day event held March 17 at the Edmonton Expo Centre, Quist, who’s in Grade 11 at R.F. Staples School, scored 286 out of a possible 300 in the 10m-15m provincial championship to earn a bronze medal versus 182 female high school archers from across Alberta. At provincials, 40 archers were spread across a line and got five practice arrows at 10 and 15 metres, then shot 15 arrows spread over three rounds at both distances — the maximum score per arrow is 10.
“It feels cool. I didn’t think it was that big of a deal,” said Quist, who joined the archery team when she was in Grade 8. “It’s a fun sport and it’s pretty easy … well I think it’s pretty easy. It’s something cool to do in school and it’s something I may want to continue doing in the future.”
Coach Mike Edwards tipped his cap to Quist saying she’s continued to improve throughout her time on the team while pointing out that she also collected bronze medals at R.F. Staples Thunderbirds Open Feb. 19, with a 275, and the Edwin Parr Composite Invitational April 8 where she scored 277.
“I could tell right away something special was happening the way Marina was shooting at provincials. It was awesome to see,” said Edwards, noting she actually finished third overall points-wise versus all shooters, boys and girls.
“With the equipment that we use, there are no sights and no release aides. It’s all fingers and nothing to help guide the arrows down range.”
At the R.F. event, Quist finished behind teammate and good friend Heleena Neuman, 17, who took silver that day with an impressive score of 282. At provincials, Neuman, who’s also in Grade 11, shot a 264 to finish 29th. Edwards called both girls “amazing shooters.”
“I think I was more excited than she was, I was jumping up and down for joy and she was, ‘It’s not a big deal.’ And I was like, ‘Yes it is, you’re third for girls in the province,’” said Neuman, who joined the archery team when she was in Grade 7.
Edwards has been running the team for Grade 7-12 students for about five years and said it was nice to be able to restart the program this year as the COVID-19 restrictions lifted.
“I’m proud of all of my team members. I don’t have try-outs, if you want to be on the team you’re on the team, but you have to commit to the discipline and to keep it safe,” said Edwards.
“It’s for kids who don’t necessarily want to be a part of the traditional sports teams, but it’s a hard sport and it involves a lot of mental preparation. At the end of the day, just to see the smiles on their faces makes it all worthwhile.”