Cailin Jarvis, 17, aimed her bow. She fired her shot, landing her arrow into a coyote statue. Her opponent took their shot as well, landing in a similar spot. Organizers moved the coyote. Jarvis took another shot, scoring a quality hit near the heart. Her opponent did the same. The target moved again, and again, and again. Every time the archers landed their shots with precision. Jarvis held her own against a top competitor. It was one of the best rounds of archery in her career.
“It was insane that I kept up with the best shooter in South Africa,” she said.
Jarvis did more than keep up; she dominated. She competed in the National Archery in Schools (NASP) 2018 All-Star Championship in Calgary on Jul. 11-13. She played against skilled archers from around the world. At the end of the grueling three-day tournament, she snagged a rare achievement: She was named the fourth-best female youth 3D archer in the world.
“It’s such an honour,” she said.
Jarvis has been firing arrows since she was five-years-old. Her father and brother used bows for hunting. They showed her the ropes.
“I followed in [their] footsteps,” she said. “It’s a family thing.”
Jarvis took her archery to the next level when she joined NASP. The program took her across Canada in big-league competitions. Jarvis specialized in 3D archery, a relatively new form of competitive archery that seeks to recreate the hunting experience.
In 3D archery, there are no traditional targets.; instead, animal models are used. Archers aim their bows at wildlife ranging from bears to turkeys to everything in between. The goal is to hit the animal target in its vital area. The closer an arrow is to the heart, the more points an archer receives. Since every animal has a different size and build, 3D archers need flexible shooting skills and a strategic mind. Hitting a bear in the heart isn’t the same as hitting a turkey in the heart.
Growing up around hunting, Jarvis naturally gravitated to 3D archery.
“I’ve been doing this since I was a child,” she said. “I just went for it.”
Jarvis’ skills brought her to the global All-Star competition for the first time this year. She scored highly in provincial and national tournaments, landing a spot in the 16-person Canadian team. Jarvis could hardly believe she was surrounded by top-level talent from around the world.
“I was super nervous,” she said. “It’s such a surreal moment.
“It’s crazy to know I was involved [with it].”
Jarvis focused on her shooting for three days. She took aim in countless rounds as the competition chugged along. It was a physically taxing experience.
“You’re tired and...mentally exhausted,” Jarvis said. “You have to keep pushing yourself and do it.”
At the end of the competition, Jarvis didn’t think she’d receive a top honour. During the medal ceremony, when they called her name, she didn’t believe it. A friend on her team had to tell her to go up onto the podium. Even when she had the medal it didn’t fully sink in.
“It didn’t really click in until two days after [the ceremony],” she said. “Oh, my God, I’m fourth in the world.
“This is crazy.”
The medal is a major cap on Jarvis’ archery career. She’s entering her final year in the sport. She’ll be competing at Nashvill next July, which will bring her archery career to a close.
“I was thinking of going into it professionally, but I can’t really see myself doing that,” she said. “I’m probably just going to keep it as a hobby.”
Jarvis appreciates archery for introducing her to countless friends and for serving as a form of relaxation.
“It’s a nice way to cool off,” she said.
Jarvis has simple advice for future archery champions: Enjoy yourselves.
“It’s meant to be fun,” she said. “Take it one arrow at a time.”