Colleges With Archery: James
Madison University Colleges With Archery: James Madison University

Books. Tree-lined campus. New friendships. Brilliant professors. Bows and arrows?

Archery can definitely be part of your college experience. As part of our Colleges With Archery series, we’ll focus on schools that are on target for academic and archery success.

James Madison University, located in Harrisonburg, Virginia, is a public research university with an enrollment of over 20,000 students in undergraduate and graduate programs. 10 of their graduates were World Champions in archery, and one – Jacob Wukie – is a 2012 Olympic silver medalist.

Importantly: the school’s colors – purple and gold – lend themselves to great archery team uniforms, along with the school’s mascot: Duke Dog, a bulldog. Check out the team’s uniforms as they blow up targets and shoot flaming arrows in our latest video.

Archery cred? Check. Cool colors? Check. But what should you be looking for when researching colleges with archery?

JMU archers participate in their first "Hunger Games 5K"

JMU archers participate in their first “Hunger Games 5K”

When knowledgeable archers look for a college where archery can still be a priority, James Madison University – JMU – is a logical choice. Virginia’s moderate climate is cool, but still temperate enough for fall and spring outdoor archery practice, while indoor archery is an option for winter.

“What I enjoy most is having access to the wealth of knowledge provided by the coaches and connecting with members of the team I otherwise would never have gotten to know,” explains JMU Archery Team member Amelia Nguyen.

Teammate Ralph Aaron Stickman echoes her thoughts: “My experiences with this team have allowed me to make lifelong friends including fellow team members as well as members of competing teams. I have had the chance to travel the country and shoot in tournaments that have tested my skills and an archer and helped me to become a better competitor and a better person.”

According to the JMU Archery website, new archers are recruited in the fall, and they have the opportunity to develop their skills and put in practice time. The team focuses on tournaments during the spring semester, and their largest indoor tournament is the U.S. National Indoor Championships, which the school hosts for USA Archery.

JMU archery team members with nationally acclaimed Coach Bob Ryder - and some of the team's many trophies.

JMU archery team members with nationally acclaimed Coach Bob Ryder – and some of the team’s many trophies.

Once outdoor archery season rolls around, the team turns their focus to large outdoor collegiate events such as the Adam Wheatcroft Memorial, the Eastern Regional Intercollegiate Archery Championships (ERIACs) and the National Outdoor Collegiate Championships (NOCC), which the school is also hosting in 2015.

As the website notes, the team is inclusive: “There are no tryouts to make the team. Even if you have never touched a bow before, we have had members make All-American and New Archer of the Year within their first year or two of picking up a bow. No equipment is needed for beginners. We provide beginning bows, arrows and equipment.”

So whether you’re an archery fan who’s never touched a bow – or a national champion already – JMU should be a contender.

Still not convinced? Coach Andy Puckett advises prospective students to relax. “Don’t worry about your archery skills. While it’s always nice to have new students enroll at JMU with well-defined skills, we are here to teach and develop archery and improve the performance of all of our students. While acceptance to JMU is rather competitive, letters of recommendation can go a long way in improving your odds. Feel free to reach out to the coaches and open a line of communication before you apply.”

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