Savannah Ward, a freshman at Oak Ridge High School, shoots to win. Wielding an Olympic style recurve bow at 20 meters, she has come away with high honors in state, regional, and national tournaments in only her second indoor season of competitive archery.
Competing as a youth in the womenâ€™s age 12-14 category, Ward set a record and became the 2015 state champion at the Tennessee indoor competition held under the auspices of the National Field Archery Association on February 7-8. Her scores at the Smoky Mountain Archers venue in Knoxville bested scores at all three competition sites across the stateâ€”eastern, middle, and western Tennessee.
At state indoor championship competitions governed by USA Archery rules, Ward shot as a cadet (women age 15-17) and won gold at two other venuesâ€”in Columbus, North Carolina, on February 1, and in Conyers, Georgia, on February 14-15. In Conyers, she also won the gold medal in the Georgia State Junior Olympic Archery Development (JOAD) competition.
National indoor championships under the auspices of USAA in Snellville, Georgia, on February 20-22, yielded further honors. Competing against archers at nine sites around the country, Ward earned silver medals for the southeastern region at the JOAD indoor nationals and at the USAA indoor nationals. Her scores placed her 15th nationally among JOAD competitors and ninth nationally among USAA competitors.
March brought even greater reward. At the NFAA national indoor championship in Louisville, Kentucky, on March 14-15, Ward found herself among more than 1,800 competitors in various styles of archery. Undaunted, Ward won bronze in her categoryâ€”gaining her first national medal.
Ward is now moving outdoors and shifting her focus. Starting her second outdoor season with a recurve bow, she is working on accuracy at 60 meters under the guidance of her Level IV coach, Elzbieta Tworek. The top five nationally ranked archers in her age category will earn a spot on the USA Archery team.
Eager to work her way up in the ranks, Ward heads to several state and regional tournaments this spring and then on to the USAA Outdoor National championship in Decatur, Alabama, in July.
Gay Marie Logsdon is a contributor to Oak Ridge Today.