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First archer in Cromwell-Wright history qualifies for nationals

Bertie Korpi

For the first time in school history, a Cromwell-Wright archer has qualified for the National Archery in the Schools tournament.

Sophomore Bertie Korpi finished 10th out of more than 800 competitors over a three-day period in Bemidji a week ago.

"I qualified in the 3D shooting event," Korpi said last week. "I've been shooting since fifth grade and I was pretty confident going into the event that I would have a good round."

In the 3D portion of the event, shooters aim at animal targets and points are awarded based on where the arrow hits the target. A score in the 280- to 290-point range is considered an excellent score. Very few contestants have the ability to score that high — Korpi scored a 281.

"They lump everyone together, and that includes boys and girls," he said. "This was the second time I have participated in the statewide event and last year I shot 265, so I knew I could do better than that."

The event was held at the John Glass Field House on the campus of Bemidji State University. It consists of the 3D event as well as a bullseye competition in which Korpi scored 285 points, but did not qualify for the nationals in that event.

Korpi's coach is Kyle Ridland, who has been the head coach for the club program at Cromwell for the past two years. He has been involved in the program for the past four seasons.

"Bertie has been at this a while now, and he is more mature physically and mentally. That mental focus is very important," Ridland said. "I was not surprised at how he did because he has been very consistent in practices and events all year."

Korpi, who shoots three times a week, believed he had a strong chance of qualifying for the national competition if everything clicked the way he thought it would.

"I just sat and calmly waited for my chance to shoot," Korpi said. "I thought all day about being relaxed and just to be happy and breathe in and out and be calm. I knew I had a chance if I did that."

The ability to keep composed is one of the most important aspects of archery. If an archer loses focuses, they will tend to wilt under the pressure. Unlike team and individual sports, where a great athlete can use his or her athletic prowess to hide deficiencies in other aspects of the game, in archery, one lapse can cause a major loss in points.

The 10th-place finish was enough to earn Korpi a slot in the NASP Nationals in Louisville at the Kentucky Exposition Center on May 10-12. For various reasons, Korpi has elected not to attend this year, but that doesn't diminish what he has accomplished.

"It feels pretty awesome to know what I did," Korpi said. "Now I am known for doing something, and that feels pretty good."