By Jillian Kurtz
One day a week, members of the Wolfpack Archery Team practice at Koteewi Range at Strawtown Koteewi Park in Noblesville. Whether on the facility’s indoor or outdoor shooting ranges, young archers learn more than just archery skills during training.
Tony Girt, 55, coaches the Wolfpack archery team. It teaches archery techniques and life skills such as communication and time management.
Originally from Anderson, Girt was introduced to archery by his brother and brother-in-law when he was 14 years old.
“It was basically hunting back then,” Girt said. “We spent the whole summer competing in tournaments to improve our skills and prepare for the hunt.”
Girt was in his twenties when he opened his own archery shop. He has been an archery coach for 15 years.
Ranging from ages 10 to 17, members of the Wolfpack Archery Team have different archery skills. Cheyenne Boggs, 15, was introduced to archery when she was in third grade and has been on the team ever since.
“Before, I was very shy and didn’t talk to anyone,” said Boggs, a freshman at Hamilton Heights High School. “That’s definitely not the case anymore.”
Members of the Wolfpack team compete locally and nationally and need to learn time management skills when traveling for competitions.
“I always do my math homework during tournaments,” Boggs said. “It can be stressful.”
Druin McGill, 17, a senior from Fishers High School, signed up for six weeks of classes with Girt. His goal was to find a new hobby and learn new skills.
“I didn’t even see it as a competitive sport back then,” McGill said. “I’ve shot a few arrows during my time in 4-H and with the Boy Scouts, so that’s what got me interested in trying the lessons.”
McGill is the oldest member of the Wolfpack and has seen the archery program grow.
“It’s really rewarding to see new members come in and see the experiences they have and all they’ve learned as well,” McGill said.
The team has won four combined state indoor championships; three outdoor state championships; finished in the top three in more than 20 regional indoor and outdoor tournaments; and achieved four outdoor state records. The team also placed in the top five at three national tournaments.
“Our team shows a lot of respect for other teams. We always cheer on our competitors as well as our own teammates,” Girt said.
Create a state-of-the-art facility
Strawtown Koteewi Park is owned and operated by the Hamilton County Parks and Recreation Department. The county began acquiring over 800 acres of land in Noblesville in 1999. One of the original visions was for the park to have a state of the art. – art archery facility.
“I was at an indoor state tournament probably 10 years ago, and I saw a guy sitting in the corner with a drawing of what he had in mind (for the park),” said Tony Girt, who coaches the Wolfpack. archery team.
The man Girt met was Al Patterson, then director of the Hamilton County Parks and Recreation Department.
“That’s how it all started,” said Girt, who calls the archery facility world-class.
The Koteewi Sport & Target Archery Center hosts several state and national level tournaments every year, including for the International Bowhunter’s Organization and the Archery Shooter’s Association, among others. The shooting ranges are open to the public and the establishment has a pro shop.