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Rowland shoots to win

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Andy Rowland, 4th Space Operations Squadron senior project lead for the Aerospace Corporation, takes first in the fifth annual archery tournament at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, Aug. 25, 2017. Rowland has been shooting since 2007. (U.S. Air Force photo/Christopher DeWitt)

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1st Lt. Nicolas Ruiz, 50th Mission Support Group executive officer, takes aim at a target during the fifth annual archery tournament at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, Friday, Aug. 25, 2017. Ruiz was one of fifteen competitors who participated in the tournament. (U.S. Air Force photo/Halle Thornton)

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Master Sgt. Josh Francois, 379th Space Range Squadron flight chief of mission operations assurance, releases his arrow at a static target during the fifth annual archery tournament at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, Friday, Aug. 25, 2017. Fifteen competitors participated in the tournament. (U.S. Air Force photo/Chris DeWitt)

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Fifteen competitors shot targets ranging from 10-40 yards at the annual archery tournament at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, Friday, Aug. 25, 2017. Participants shot three arrows in the first round, and received one point for each target hit. (U.S. Air Force photo/Chris DeWitt)

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Competitors prepare to shoot at targets from 10-40 yards at the fifth annual archery tournament at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, Friday, Aug. 25, 2017. The tournament consisted of three rounds: static targets, 3D and block targets and a knockout round. (U.S. Air Force photo/Halle Thornton)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --

Fifteen competitors began the fifth annual archery tournament, Friday, Aug. 25 at the Schriever archery range, but only one endured after the final round.

The tournament consisted of three rounds, the first being static targets. Competitors were broken up into groups and each person shot three arrows at 10, 20, 30 and 40 yards. Each target hit earned one point.

After the first round, five participants were cut.

Round two consisted of 3D targets and block targets, where participants earned points for hitting vital areas.

At the end of round two, just five competitors remained.

The last round was the knockout, where the remaining five competitors each called shots, i.e. “60 yard coyote vitals,” and if the person who calls the shot hits the target, the person behind must hit the same target area.

“A lot of first time shooters make poor decisions when selecting ‘called shots’ and it really hurts them,” said Seth Cannello, 50th Force Support Squadron fitness center director. “You can do well in the first two rounds, but one mistake in the knockout round and you're done.”

The last round came down to Andy Rowland, 4th Space Operations Squadron senior project lead for the Aerospace Corporation, and Victor Gardner, National Space Defense Center aerospace engineer. Rowland came out victorious, making it inside the vitals of the 3D coyote from about 50 yards away.

“It's fun to see what shots people select,” Cannello said. “Some people like to shoot from their knees, others try to take long shots.”

“Both gentlemen made numerous clutch shots to stay in the game,” Cannello said. “This is very difficult to do because the pressure mounts with each shot. Both archers are cool under pressure and are familiar with how the tournament unfolds.”

Rowland participated in the tournament for the fifth time, and placed second last year to Cannello.

He has been shooting since 2007, after he needed something to do after a skiing accident.

His favorite part of the tournament at Schriever is the variety of targets.

“It really makes this course a great one in the area,” Rowland said. “The 3D elk is really good practice for hunting season.”

Rowland expressed gratitude after placing first in the tournament after coming in second more than once.

“It (the tournament) is surprisingly nerve wracking. I was in the bottom during the first round, but I found my groove in the second round. I usually shoot by myself, so shooting around all of these people is a lot of pressure. It mimics the pressure during hunting season.”

Gardner placed third last year, but moved up to the second place spot in this year’s tournament.

“It’s fun meeting all of the other hunters and shooters at Schriever and Peterson,” he said.

Gardner has been shooting for five years, saying the hardest part of this year’s tournament was the coyote target.

“It’s such a small target, it gets in people’s heads,” he said.

The inaugural archery tournament was held in 2013 and they have hosted an annual competition every year since.

The fitness center now has more than 300 registered archers. 

“I was happy with the turn out this year and I think the tournament went well,” Cannello said. “The archery range is a labor of love for me and I really enjoy maintaining it and hosting the annual tournament.”

Anyone on base who wants to use the range must first take an archery orientation class. Classes are held every Tuesday at noon. To pre-register or inquire about receiving archery equipment, call the fitness center at 567-6628.

The 6th annual tournament will be held the same time next year.

The updated commander’s cup standings are:

1.       3rd Space Operations Squadron – 1,470 points

2.       4th Space Operations Squadron – 1,085 points

3.       United States Air Force Warfare Center – 595 points

4.       1st Space Operations Squadron – 570 points

5.       3rd Space Experimentation Squadron- 370 points

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