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Archer Josh Litke has been chosen for the World Open NASP shoot in Tennessee this July

Masha Scheele Photo

Tyler Waugh

Gerard Redmond has qualified an archer for the NASP (National Archery in Schools Program) All-Star Shoot for the third-straight year with Josh Litke earning the honour in 2019.

Gerard Redmond has qualified an archer for the NASP (National Archery in Schools Program) All-Star Shoot for the third-straight year with Josh Litke earning the honour in 2019.

Litke holds a third-place ranking out of the 24 archers on the 2019 NASP World All-Star List from across Canada and earned a chance to compete at the World Open NASP tournament in Nashville TN on July 25-27.

“It’s incredible. It’s a credit to the hard work he puts in, with his team and also the time he puts in out at the range,” said Gerard Redmond archery coach Chris Storozhenko, adding that Litke follows in the footsteps of former Raiders archers Sydney Savela and Mason Meunier.

Litke, a 16-year-old Grade 11 student, earned his third ranking based on a career high 290 score at the provincial shoot held March 14 in Edmonton, finishing first overall out of 859 male competitors.

Litke was razor sharp early on at provincials – notching 14-straight perfect 10 arrows to open the shoot among 23 scores of 10. He only had one score below nine – a six he scored on his final arrow.

He notched a 283 score at the start of May at the nationals in Regina, finishing second out of 164 high school boy competitors, and third out of 501 boy competitors overall.

“The score was a bit of a step back from provincials, but I was happy,” said Litke, who had fewer 10s at nationals, but had only one score lower than nine, an eight on the first arrow.

Archers get one kick at the can at a competition. They shoot 30 scoring arrows in succession after a round of practice arrows – three rounds of five arrows at a range of 10m and then another three rounds of five arrows at 15m. The pressure builds as they wait in queue to shoot, but staying in the right head space is important to success because they only get one sequence and a few bad arrows early can kill a score.

“There is a lot of pressure, and you feel it. This year it changed for me was that I didn’t feel the pressure as much anymore. Instead of fear adrenaline the adrenaline kind of sharpened me,” Litke said, adding that he’s been taught not to let a bad shot rattle him.

“Archery is all routine. You want to do the same thing every time so that every arrow is the same.”

Litke said that it was actually a movie that got him interested in archery, citing the first time he watched Lord of The Rings – Two Towers as catching his imagination.

“When Legolas takes down the oliphaunt,” he said, adding that he began shooting when he was

12. “After that there was a summer camp out at the archery range where we got to go shoot and there were some animal targets.”

Litke was joined at nationals by sister Annelise, who is a year younger and began in archery after she saw how much fun Josh was having. She earned her own career high at the 2019 provincials with a score of 264 and since the nationals were an open competition she decided to go to Regina with Josh.

“It’s lower than I had been shooting in practice in weeks prior, so I was a little disappointed, but happy overall. At nationals I didn’t shoot as well, a lot lower than I was hoping for, but it was a great learning experience and I got to shoot in a different environment,” she said.

The two archers drove the 10-hour trip with their dad and felt that having each other was a steadying factor while getting ready to compete in a new place and surrounded by new faces.

“We ended up shooting right beside each other, so it was kind of nice. One time I got really angry because one of my arrows did something really weird but Josh was right behind me and just told me to take a deep breath and calm down and think about the next arrow,” Annelise said.

Josh said the advice he gave was just a variation on a mantra that Coach Storozhenko had told him repeatedly.

“Whenever I was shooting bad he would say something like each arrow is a new arrow, so just focus on this arrow … something along those lines,” Josh said.

“(Coach Storozhenko) is a great influence, he always wants best for you. He’s done a great job building the program.”