THE Griffith City Archers are off to Adelaide this afternoon with the aim of continuing the city’s stunning success in the world of archery at the Junior National Archery Championships.
Led by coach Ben Pawson and Australian representative Maddie Salvestro, the eight-strong contingent will again form one of the biggest single-club entries at the week-long tournament, which starts on Sunday.
And unlike last year when Griffith juniors made up half of the ACT state team, this time the locals have taken over completely.
“The entire ACT state team is made up of Griffith City Archers now,” Pawson said.
“Nobody else can compare to our kids at the moment. It’s absolutely brilliant, it’s unbelievable what these kids are doing at the moment.”
All bar one of the Griffith archers, Emily Ruskin, went to the junior nationals in Brisbane last year and Pawson said their progression was plain to see 12 months on.
“You can see their increased focus in training. They know what to expect now,” he said.
“At least half of them last year were all beginners but they know what they need to do to achieve.
“And they’ve been doing it for the last two months – they’ve been training six days a week, really hard.”
The Griffith City Archers finished their preparation at home this week on the back of last weekend’s ACT State Field Titles in Tuggeranong, which saw Pawson’s team bring home yet another swag of medals.
Salvestro led the way, setting two new Australian tournament records and comfortably taking the gold.
Pawson said the teenager – who represented her country at the World Youth Archery Championships in China last year – is focused on securing the top gong down in Adelaide, the champion of champions title.
That crown will go to whichever open-aged archer can produced highest combined score from the target, matchplay, clout and field events.
“She’s picked up a couple of sponsors now which just goes to show how much she’s being recognised,” Pawson said.
“Every time she picks the bow up now she’s doing new things. We’re really excited for Adelaide to see what she can do.”
Salvestro is one of five Griffith archers vying for national team selection next week, with Jarrod Rossiter, Nathan Rowley, Dana Biondo and Lawrence Salvestro also in line if they can produce their best work in Adelaide.
But don’t write off young gun Ruskin, 13, who is proving just as prodigious a talent as the rest of Pawson’s squad.
“She’s only been shooting since the start of this year but she’s been going from strength to strength,” he said.
“We’ve been taking her away to some of the smaller tournaments and the state titles and she’s proven herself. She’s a very focused and determined young girl.”
The championships, which will take place in the Adelaide CBD’s South Terrace parklands, wrap up on Easter Sunday.