The Alexandria archery team through the National Archery in the Schools Program did not have the most kids among schools participating in Alexandria’s home tournament on Saturday, but the host did feature a couple of the top shooters.

Sophomore Nicolas Witt has proven to be a great marksman through the spring trap shooting league, and he is on a similar level with a bow. Witt shot a 290 out of a possible 300 in Alexandria on Saturday. That was the best overall score out of more than 250 archers in all divisions -- elementary, middle school and high school.

“He’s very good,” Alexandria coach Al Hansen said of Witt. “The first Sauk Centre tournament we shot at, they had a 3D Tournament. I think when Nic shoots targets, he puts the tip of his arrow on the two ring to put it in the bullseye. When you shoot 3D, you got to pick a spot and focus. At Sauk there, I think finally in his mind he figured out how to focus on a spot. I think that really helped him.”

Nicolas Witt
Nicolas Witt

Witt won the Sauk Centre Invite on Feb. 22 with another 290. That was best out of 178 total male archers in the tournament.

“He’s got the attitude, plus the focus,” Hansen said.

Witt is a sophomore, but he has a lot of experience now in the shooting sports on the trap range and in archery. Alexandria sixth-grader Ian Johnson is one of this team’s up-and-comers.

Johnson won the middle school division and was third among all competitors with a 286 on Saturday. Only Witt and Katelyn Kleven, a freshman from Lake Park-Audubon who was the top female finisher at 289, had better scores than Johnson.

“He’s very, very high on the junior high level,” Hansen said. “That’s an impressive score. He’s definitely going to be a really good shooter in his time. I was talking with (his dad) Adam (Johnson), it’s part of growing up and learning, but when he shoots really well, he’s good. When he throws a bad arrow, he can’t forget about the bad arrow. Part of that is growing up and learning how to handle that pressure and the poor shots.”

Alexandria's Logan Peterson takes aim during Alexandria's home tournament on Saturday. Peterson shot a 265 out of a possible 300 in the event. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)
Alexandria's Logan Peterson takes aim during Alexandria's home tournament on Saturday. Peterson shot a 265 out of a possible 300 in the event. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)

Tournaments through the National Archery in the Schools Program help boys and girls get the full experience of competitive archery in some pressure situations.

Family and friends packed the chairs set up behind the shooting stations in Alexandria on Saturday to watch the archers. Monitors with live streaming of the event and live scoring were also there to help spectators and competitors follow along.

Alexandria competes in five local tournaments hosted by Sauk Centre, Osakis, Alexandria and Melrose before the state tournament this year in Foley March 27-28.

“This is our sixth year and things are just changing rapidly,” Hansen said. “With the state shoot right now, everyone can shoot, but as I see down the road, I think we’re going to have to have some qualifying of somehow to get you to state. Even with a two-day tournament, you start running out of space and time. That’s part of growing.”

Alexandria's Claire Monceaux shot a 273 out of a possible 300 during the tournament at Alexandria Area High School on March 7. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)
Alexandria's Claire Monceaux shot a 273 out of a possible 300 during the tournament at Alexandria Area High School on March 7. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)

With more interest from kids comes more need for volunteers, space and donors. The equipment used in the sport -- Genesis bows that fit students of all ages and sizes, along with arrows and targets -- are often purchased through support from the community the schools represent, and that’s the case locally. Many outdoor groups have stepped up over the years to provide financial support for area programs throughout the area.

Alexandria currently has 26 kids on the high school team and 25 in junior high in what is the first season that the program has featured a middle-school team.

“Out of the 26 kids, I only got three seniors,” Hansen said of the high school program. “Next year, (coach) Jim (Stratton) at Discovery (Middle School), he’s got eight, 10 kids who are coming over. We’re going to have to add a few targets and be diligent. That’s good, but we’ve got some challenges there too.”

Brandon-Evansville had archers within all three age divisions in Alexandria on Saturday. Evan Allen, a fifth-grader, shot 238 and Colton Johnson, a fourth-grader, had a 222 in the elementary division.

Kaleb Fuglseth was the top middle-school scorer for B-E with a 260, and Trevor Peterson shot a 276 to lead the team’s high school archers. That was good for 12th place overall.

Sauk Centre features good numbers through its elementary program that feeds quality archers into the middle school and high school levels. Sauk Centre won the team competition in all three age divisions in Alexandria.

A team score consists of 24 kids and the top 12 scores from that group going toward the program’s final tally. Alexandria shot a 3,211 in the high school division, 46 points back of Sauk Centre’s 3,257.

“The kids shot really well,” Hansen said. “We’re always competing against Sauk Centre...We’re getting there. It’s coming.”

ALEXANDRIA ARCHERY TOURNAMENT

ALEXANDRIA SCORES (Out of possible 300) - Nicolas Witt - 290; Ian Johnson - 286; Christian Scribner - 277; Owen Jensen - 275; Claire Monceaux - 273; Hailey Evjen - 272; Domanik Hines - 271; Marc Magaard - 271; Ethan Giese - 266; Ashton Schlosser - 265; Logan Peterson - 265; Janoa Hedstrom - 259; Madison Melby - 259; Garrett Moore - 256; Colin Rosha - 253; Kallista Roers - 252; Grayson Soine - 252; Jordan Reese - 251; Shawn Gebhardt - 250; Makayla Erickson - 247; Megan Fuchs - 246; Rebecca Meyer - 244; Nicholas Hiles - 243; Kaedin Moos - 242; Logan Schmitt - 238; Emily Barten - 238; Kian Knudegaard - 236; Morgan Hungness - 235; Piper Maland - 234; Carson Melby - 232; Brookelyn Scribner - 231; Monroe Glade - 231; Megan Townsend - 229; Noah Larson - 228; Gabriel Maland - 227; Kobe Knudegaard - 225; Samuel Hamann - 220; Ella Sanden - 215; Ellen Panther - 211; Blake Erickson - 199; Dylan Howard - 197; Geneva Reemts - 195; Tiffany Larson - 176

BRANDON-EVANSVILLE SCORES - Trevor Peterson - 276; Kaleb Fuglseth - 260; Spencer Olson - 259; Logan Froemming - 253; Ethan Allen - 248; Jordan Thoennes - 246; Evan Allen - 238; Erik Bitzan - 235; Kennedy Daniels - 235; Madeline Stich - 234; David Stroeing - 228; Ian Bitzan - 223; Colton Johnson - 222; Bryce Kramer - 219; Landon Sullivan - 218; Royce Aasness - 205; Addison Daniels - 190; Landon Stich - 186; Bryce Froemming - 179; Cooper Eckoff - 168; Max DeNeys - 162