On a trajectory to Team Army

WTU Force Structure Sgt. Andrew Bell (left) and Sgt. 1st Class Julio Rodriguez compete at the Warrior Care and Transition's Army Trials 2017 archery event at Fort Bliss, Texas on April 4, 2017. (Photo Credit: DoD photo by Roger L. Wollenberg)

By Leanne Thomas, Tripler Army Medical Center Public Affairs, and Robert A. Whetstone, Brooke Army Medical Center Public Affairs

FORT BLISS, Texas -- An arrow shot from a compound bow travels around 300 feet per second, or 200 mph for those who like to drive real fast. It doesn't matter if you use a compound or recurve bow, the arrow will still travel with some angle of trajectory. For Soldier and veteran athletes competing in the archery event at this year's Army Trials, the trajectory is aimed directly at earning a spot on Team Army and competing in the DoD Warrior Games in Chicago, June 30 -- July 8.

Some historians date archery as far back as 10,000 years. One constant is the equipment evolved with the times. For the wounded, ill and injured athletes participating in the Army Warrior Care and Transition Army Trials, hosted by Fort Bliss, Texas, the adaptations are perfectly suited for stiff competition.

Participants compete in two categories: Individual Compound Open, and Individual Recurve Open. They cannot shoot both types of bows. They must choose one or the other. Athletes are allowed to shoot either bow from the standing or seated position. There are no separate classifications for gender. The only other classification is for vision impaired. Distance to the target is 18 meters or approximately 60 feet.

"In archery you really have to work at it and keep shooting because if you take a day off I guarantee you that your competitor is not taking a day off," said Scott Hastings, military adaptive sports coach and U.S. Army veteran. "And your mental game has to be 100% on what you're doing at the moment."

Sgt. Andrew Bell, bronze medalist for the recurve category said, "We've done a lot of mental preparation and positive thinking and we also learned how to be open to criticism. I've learned a lot from the coaches and a lot of people through the Warrior Care and Transition team have helped out a lot".

Of the 18 wounded warriors competing for an archery medal, only six would become medal recipients.

At the compound bow competition, two competitors tied for the bronze medal and they had to do a one arrow shoot-off. Spc. Michelle Sanchez shot her arrow .29 inches from the center of the target and become the compound bow bronze medal recipient.

The compound bow silver medal was awarded to Sgt. 1st Class Brian Terry, and the compound bow gold medalist was Sgt. 1st Class Nicholas Hammett.

In the recurve bow category, the bronze medal was awarded to Sgt. Andrew Bell. The silver medal was awarded to Sgt. 1st Class Erik Acevedo and the gold medalist was awarded to Sgt. 1st Class Robert Roberts, III.

"Winning is always a great feeling, but to be a member of this family and a part of this team means the most to me," said Hammett.

To view Army Trials results, go to: