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Senior finishes high school archery career at nationals

By John Estridge, Editor

As Franklin County High School senior William Fields walked back to his quiver with the last of his arrows in Louisville, Ky. around 1:15 p.m., Friday afternoon, May 11, his high school career in archery came to an end.

Fields shot a 274 out of a possible 300, which he felt was disappointing at the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) Eastern Nationals tournament at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville. His previous high, shot this season at a five-team tournament at Frame's near Liberty, was 293. He won the individual honors at that event.

More than 14,000 archers took part in the NASP Eastern Nationals three-day event.

While Fields was disappointed in his score, it was still well into the top half in all the categories of those participating: High School Boys Rank: 847 out of 2,519; 12th Grade Boys Rank: 185 out of 474; and Overall Boys Rank: 1,391 out of 7,450.

Beside Fields at the line and on his left at the nationals was a female high school student, Atlanta Will, a senior at Grand Rapids High School in Minnesota. She told Fields that she and her team drove 12 hours to reach the event. Will shot a 269. Fields and Will shared target 237during their time on the line.

Fields was the only FCHS Wildcat at the event as he qualified as an individual based on his score in the state finals held about a month earlier in Indianapolis. FC, as a team, qualified for the nationals two years ago. Fields was also part of that team. Collectively, the Wildcats shot a 3137 at the 2016 event finishing 214 out of 232 high schools.

Archery is a club sport at FCHS. Fields was accompanied to Louisville by coach Joe Studt and Franklin County Community School Corporation teacher Stacey Nobbe.

“It was fun, really fun just being there, being the only one there (from FCHS), knowing that everybody else had a team, and they probably got carried by their team, so they automatically were brought there,” Fields said. “I pushed myself and did well enough to get to go.”

Fields said he put pressure on himself to do well.

“I really wanted to push myself,” Fields said. “And I didn't want to not do well. It would be kind of pointless to go down there to just do bad. I was trying to correct my aiming point. I had about five things running through my head: where I need to place my elbow, where I need to place my finger on the side of my mouth, if the string was in the exact same place, my stance and my shoulder blade.

“When you pull back with your shoulder muscles, it tenses it more so the (arrow) will fly straighter. You have a better arc. If you don't, your shot's real soft, and they're more than likely going to drop five or six inches,” he continued.

Fields said he thought about his last competition for hours after the event, even during the ride back to Franklin County.

“On the way back, I was thinking about it,” Fields said. “I was thinking about what I could've done with it. Instead of worrying too much on changing my aiming point, I should have worried about sticking to what my gut was saying. That was probably the biggest mistake I did was ignoring (my gut).”

According to Fields, the nationals experience was much better when he went as part of a team.

“I liked it better with a team because it makes it more fun,” Fields said. “It was fun today but with a team, seeing all your friends there laughing having a good time on the line makes it a lot more enjoyable.”

Archery drew Fields to it even before he entered FCHS.

“I did (archery) in gym my seventh and eighth-grade years,” Fields said. “I really enjoyed it. I heard from somebody they were doing it at the high school, and I knew that I had to do it.”

According to Fields, he enjoyed the atmosphere at archery events.

“Just looking through the crowd and looking down the line and seeing people laugh and smile,” Fields said. “It's not fun if everybody is sad and grumpy. The best time in archery is looking around and seeing everyone enjoying themselves.”

During team events, Fields and his friends were having side competitions that made events even more interesting.

“Sometimes me and my friends will have a little competition: who will beat who this night at a competition?” Fields said. “We push ourselves to making it. Yes, you have some bad arrows, but you can't change that. You have to smile, stick up and adjust and make yourself enjoy it more.”

Fields said he is going to miss the camaraderie of being around his friends and the coaches on the archery team.

He also enjoyed meeting new people during shooting events like Will from Minnesota.

Fields plans on living in Franklin County, and he would like to become associated with the archery club as an assistant coach.

“I plan when I have free time to go and help out the younger kids,” Fields said. “I'd like to help Joe out and make sure (the participants) are having fun.”

The son of Derek and Samantha Fields, Fields plans on working at Ludwigs. He is participating in the intern program at Ludwigs now. He wants to be an electrician. He also knows about HVAC and plans on being helpful in both areas. Fields wants to eventually become a licensed electrician.

He also wants to continue to be part of the archery program.