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The Hurricanes Archery Program: More Than a Formula for Success

By Marion Weaver

Founded by Patrick and Colleen Pusateri, it would be an understatement to say the Hurricanes Archery Program is simply a good one, for over the past few years it has consistently demonstrated how formidable its archery team really is in tournament after tournament. This year has been no exception to the excellent track record this team holds. Is their success due to a mere formula of archery practices, good coaching, and natural ability on the range, or does their success come from much more than the basic elements that make up a good team? As the season wraps up and the practices and road trips end, the coaches, students, and families will come together one last time on Saturday, August 3, for their annual Awards Banquet to celebrate together and to bid farewell to their beloved seniors. This final get together symbolizes the true spirit of this archery team, a team that is not only dedicated to its sport, but a team dedicated one to another in love and purpose that spills over into their lives on and off the range. The NASP Nationals Tournament, as well as the recent NASP Championships, are just a sampling of how this deeper dedication from its people spills over into the Hurricanes competitive success.

After moving from the State Tournament in late March and traveling to Louisville, Kentucky, in early May for the Nationals Tournament, the Hurricanes demonstrated their ability to once again hit the mark and place as one of the top NASP teams in South Carolina. In fact, the high school division ranked third in the state for Bullseye and IBO 3D, the middle school division ranked fifth for Bullseye and fourth for IBO 3D, and the elementary division ranked fourth for Bullseye and second for IBO 3D. In addition, the high school team ranked in the top 19% in the nation for Bullseye during the Nationals Tournament, receiving a team score of 3347! The middle school and elementary teams also created quite a stir at Nationals, receiving an overall team score of 3209 and 2909, respectively.

Based on their outstanding performance at the Nationals Tournament, the Hurricanes Archery Team qualified for the NASP Championships that recently took place in Nashville, Tennessee. On July 26 and 27, the middle and high school students competed in both Bullseye and IBO 3D. The high school archers received a team score of 3345 in Bullseye and 1686 in IBO 3D, putting them in 11th position in the nation for Bullseye and 10th position for IBO 3D! The middle school team received a score of 3097 in Bullseye and 1529 in IBO 3D, placing them in 35th position in the nation for Bullseye and 23rd position for IBO 3D.

Each year the Hurricanes archers attend these national tournaments to compete with other teams, to potentially place in the top rankings, and even receive a trophy or a scholarship. However, most of these students would say it is not just about the tournament competitions. It is about the people—their devoted coaches, their close friendships with other teammates, and even the parents that serve around them at every practice and cheer them on at every tournament in an environment of love, mentorship, and encouragement. In fact, some of the most seasoned Hurricanes archers recently shared their own personal experiences during their years on the team.

In an interview conducted for this article, the seniors share their own personal thoughts about the Hurricanes Archery Program. Seniors John Burdette, Kyleigh Medford, Hunter Smith, Sylvia Smith, Samuel Weaver, and Heather Williams graduated high school this spring and are now moving on to new adventures. Three of them, Kyleigh Medford and Hunter and Sylvia Smith have been with the Hurricanes Archery Program from its inception! The seniors have many fond memories of their time on the team, including tournament trips to places like Florida, Kentucky, and Tennessee. When asked what they think makes this archery team so successful, the overall consensus of all the seniors was the people.

Kyleigh Medford highlighted the mentorship and training she received from the coaches, calling them “irreplaceable people” and the “best coaches in the world.” She continues by stating that the coaches do not just tell the students what to do, but teach and explain to them why they need to know something. She further remarks that the coaches “ make sure [the students] are equipped and prepared on and off the range, for whatever may or may not happen. They truly care for and love us and make such an impact in all of our lives.” Sylvia Smith also shares the impact the coaches have had on her life. She describes them as demonstrating “strong leadership” and dedication to their archery students and says they taught her that “the outcome of a situation depends on the input (time and work)” put into it. Sylvia also recounts how she learned to work with others as a team during her time with the Hurricanes. Hunter Smith, Sylvia’s brother, describes his seven years on the archery team as providing him a relaxing and uplifting environment where he always felt welcomed and encouraged. Hunter also believes he is a better person because of the archery program because he learned many lessons about patience, “[recognizing] something that needs work and slowly adjusting until it improves.”

Samuel Weaver, a three-year veteran of the Hurricanes, likens the archery team to “one large family” where “[they] all work together so well.” He continues by stating that the archery program “helped [him] branch out more and become a more sociable person.” Another senior, Heather Williams, beautifully describes the people involved with the archery program—including the coaches, parent volunteers, and students—as having “passionate hearts for the LORD” and as “true gifts from God.” She continues by sharing that “[she has] learned and experienced the weight of trials that rests on each person’s shoulders” and is “constantly reminded at archery to be kind to everyone and consistently build one another up.” Heather also references a familiar Bible verse used often by the coaches at archery: “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). This verse reminds Heather to practice why she does what she does and allows her to demonstrate God’s love to other people not only at archery practice and at tournaments, but in her everyday life as well.

The Hurricanes Archery Program is indeed more than a masterful formula for success in the sport of archery. It has a genuine spirit of love, acceptance, and encouragement that stems from a Christ-centered foundation for its team. It embodies a higher purpose in that the leadership seeks to give the sport of archery a deeper focus: character development, life skills, and godly mentorship. This is why its seniors come away with such meaningful descriptions of the people that serve them. Yes, serve them. The coaches. The parents. The volunteers. Every season they lovingly give of their time and energy because they see this archery team as more than a sport. It is, in fact, a ministry—a ministry that continues to serve the students of this community in a powerful and unique way through the sport of archery.