Lloydminster’s Brett Stephens took part in the archery competition at the Wood Buffalo 2018 Alberta Winter Games. SUBMITTED PHOTO
A spot on the Wood Buffalo 2018 Alberta Winter Games’ podium fell just outside the grasp of a local archer.
Brett Stephens placed fourth in the archery aged 12-14 male Cub Compound division for Zone 7 at the Feb. 16-19 Games.
The Grade 8 student at College Park School earned the finish by shooting the third best score on the opening day of the solo competition before taking aim in four one-on-one contests in the championship round the next morning and afternoon.
“I was nervous, but I thought I did pretty good,” said Stephens. “It was a lot different than I’ve faced (before) because it was the best in the province.”
Stephens started the two-day solo competition by shooting a 600, or 60 arrows, for an overall score that would determine his seeding heading into the second one-on-one phase of the tournament. The Junior Olympic Program (JOP) archer then went 2-2 in the double-knockout championship round in Fort McMurray’s Turf Fieldhouse at Shell Place to capture the fourth position.
It took countless hours of practise every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at the Lloydminster Archers Association facility just outside of the Border City for Stephens to reach this honour.
Saturdays spent training in Vegreville were also added to his busy schedule when he made the Games’ squad through a division tryout championship at St. Paul in late November.
Stephens, who began practicing archery three years ago, said a love for the sport led to his investment in it both before and after he made the Zone 7 team. He said getting the chance to try for a medal at the Alberta Winter Games, stay at the athletes’ village with other young competitors, and take in the atmosphere of a multi-sport event makes the hard work worthwhile.
“I was still pretty happy,” said Stephens, about finishing off the podium. “I got to go to the Alberta Winter Games, which I am pretty proud about.”