Plenty of well-established sports teams would consider themselves lucky to have won a national championship. Many more would pat themselves on the back for having won two.
In that respect, the Jaguar Archery Group at Augusta University is a little different.
After winning two national championships in the same month, the club’s leadership says they’re more focused on the future: recruiting, training and growing the archery community. It’s the logical next step. After all, their club is only a few months old.
But you might not have guessed it from their recent performances.
Led by student founder Daniel Allen, a first-year medical student at the Medical College of Georgia, the club brought home its first national championships in March 2016: One at the 47th U.S. National Indoor Championship and another at the United States Collegiate Archery Association National Indoor Championship.
There, joined by his colleagues in the Jaguar Archery Group, Allen bested competitors from the University of California, Stanford University and even the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
It’s been a busy year for the club’s unassuming president.
A recent graduate of Georgia Southern University, he’s had to adjust to life as a med student in a new city while also juggling a social life. Add into that regular practices and the founding of a club, and it’s easy to see how someone could let their talents slip.
For his part, though, Allen said his team’s wins had nothing to do with talent.
“Archery is a mental sport,” he said. “As long as you can physically repeat everything the same way, then you’re going to do great.”
Dr. Michael Brands, professor of physiology at the Medical College of Georgia and the club’s faculty advisor, disagreed. An accomplished archer in his own right, Brands has been shooting for years. He said the kind of talent on display in the university’s archery club is exceptional and that other students should be taking advantage of it.
“I know plenty of people who shot every day, just like Daniel says he does, and they’re never going to be competitive for the national championship,” he said.
Madison Carpenter, a cell and molecular biology major and the club’s vice president, said her view falls somewhere in the middle.
“I’ve been on a lot of sports teams and done a lot of different things,” Carpenter said. “Archery club is different.”
Carpenter explained that the club wasn’t a “go run laps” sort of environment, but that it could also be an effective teacher for those willing to learn. More importantly, she said, membership in the Jaguar Archery Club could also be a wonderful social tool.
“Archery has helped me connect more with the university, because this is my first semester at Augusta,” she said. “I was a transfer student, and I didn’t know anybody. Coming in and being able to become a part of this, I’ve made a lot of friends doing just this one thing.
The 36 members of the current Jaguar Archery Club all joined for different reasons. Some joined for the love of the sport. Others, for the companionship it brings. The one thing they all agree on, though, is how welcoming – and enlightening – the club’s leadership has been.
“You can join archery club and not do competitions,” Carpenter said. “It’s a sport for anyone. You don’t have to have any skill coming in. I didn’t.”
Carpenter would know. She took up archery in late 2015 and placed eighth in the women’s basic bow category at the USCAA National Indoor Championship in Snellville.
That, together with the friends she’s made thanks to the club, have made her Augusta University experience.
“Archery is a sport people want around,” she said. “And it’s made me realize how big of an impact a club can have on a university. It ties so many people together.”
For more information about Jaguar Archery Group, contact email@example.com.