Rend Lake College is taking aim at offering new student engagement with the creation of a new co-ed competitive archery team beginning in the fall 2019 semester.
The idea came about after interest was expressed about building a 3-D archery range in the Rend Lake area. That interest coupled with the Scholastic 3-D Archery (S3DA) 3-D National Championship held in Metropolis prompted RLC President Terry Wilkerson to start investigating the idea.
Not only was there a surge of interest from potential students but also from other schools to compete against. RLC will be shooting against teams from Southeastern Illinois College and Wabash Valley College, but other colleges have shown interest in also forming a team. Outside of college competition, RLC will also compete at a regional and national level along with S3DA competitors.
The team will be coached by long-time RLC employee and outdoor enthusiast Donnie Millenbine. Millenbine is excited to share his passion for archery with students while creating a competitive team to represent the college.
"I have been in the hunting woods as long as I can remember. I credit my dad for the passion I have. I began shooting in 1995 with my first Lightning Flight II, compound bow, chasing whitetails around Hamilton County," Millenbine said.
It's not only his time in the woods that RLC's new head archery coach will be brining to the table. Millenbine has also shot competitively in the past in southern Illinois and southern Indiana.
As for RLC's shooters, participants on the team will be expected to practice once a week. Practices will be held on the north side of the Ina campus, utilizing some woodland and open fields. The team will practice on the same targets they will be shooting at in competition.
"We will compete as a team as well as individually. Shooters walk a course of 20 3-D targets of a variety of animals, usually in a woods setting. We will begin with an outdoor season, then move to indoor when winter hits. Indoor competition will be shooting at stationary targets in an indoor archery facility. RLC will compete with other community colleges as well as other S3DA archery competitors," Millenbine explained.
Currently, the team is entertaining competing in various different divisions based on participant interest. Barebow and bowhunter divisions are the most prominent competitions. But, Millenbine said the team will consider other divisions like Olympic recurve if the interest is there.
RLC shooters will need to provide their own bows and accessories.
"We are really excited about the team. Student archers will experience competition at the collegiate level. They will learn proper etiquette and shooter safety. This will also improve the shooter accuracy to prepare for higher level events and/or bow hunting season. They will meet new friends from the area while doing something they desire," said Millenbine.
For more information, students can contact Millenbine at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 618-437-5321 ext. 1319.