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MTI begins 27-member Archery Club

Mitchell Technical Institute student Thomas Doolittle, 18, of Midland, aims to shoot during the Archery Club’s practice Nov. 6 at the Mitchell Stump Shooters Archery Club. (Sean Ryan/Republic)

Last April, Mitchell Technical Institute student Ronnie Barnett had high hopes for completing his goal of creating an Archery Club at MTI.

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It took a few months but the sophomore’s dream has come to true.

“I talked to our president, Greg Von Wald, my first year but we didn’t get things going,” Barnett, of Park Rapids, Minn., said. “But now that I am out here shooting and seeing the total participation, I am really encouraged to see what we can do. We did a poll on who was interested in participating in national tournaments and almost every one raised their hands.”

After filling out several papers and paying an entrant’s fee of $45, the Archery Club became an official member of the USA Collegiate Archery Association, making it the second athletic team at MTI. The institute’s first athletic team is the rodeo team.

Since its inception, the team, which consists of 27 students, has been practicing Wednesdays from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Mitchell Stump Shooters Archery Club. There is a $40 fee to be a member, but this year, MTI decided to pay for each student. The fee allows the students to practice with and be a part of the Mitchell Stump Shooters.

“I was pretty surprised that we had so much interest,” said Clayton Deuter, the club’s adviser. “I knew we had a pretty good base of kids with archery backgrounds. I was a little surprised to see 27, but that is a good foundation for the club.”

Students have to maintain 2.0 GPA and full-time student status at MTI. Dakota Wesleyan University and Mount Marty are the only other two South Dakota schools that have archery programs. Deuter said he hopes to see the program grow and eventually compete on the national level.

“This is really driven by the students,” Deuter said. “I want it to be something they enjoy and I want them to go to these collegiate shoots and grow and improve.”

Barnett, who is the vice president of the Archery Club, got the idea to start the team after meeting Dakota Wesleyan University’s Raeanne Klein. Barnett said Klein, who won the world indoor championship in April, was very instrumental in helping get the team started.

“Raeanne Klein started the Archery Club at DWU, so I talked to her about getting started,” Barnett. “She printed up the information and I read it. She really helped a lot.”

The team will start competing in events starting in January.