Dine College


Encouragement, drive, motivate DC student archers

“It not the equipment that makes a difference, it’s the archer.” –Kristy P. Yazzie

Tsaile, Ariz.—Dine College students who compete in archery know it takes more than commitment and inspiration to turn ordinary people into exceptional archers.

It takes practice. And a family mentality among its teammates.

That mentality served them well as Dine College archers traveled to Chula Vista, Calif. to compete in the United States Intercollegiate Archery Championship in May.

Dine College earned three All-Academic and five All-American honors at USIAC at the Olympic Training Center during the 4-day competition last month. Overall, DC archers garnered five medals for a sixth-place finish at USIAC.

The competition was challenging for DC archers, but they knew to rely on the hours of practice they did, the self-discipline and good old fashion hard-work.

For All-American award recipient Kristy P. Yazzie, balancing family, grades and archery involved time management and not letting any excuses get in the way of “slightly older equipment” or sharing the gym with other DC student athletes who needed to practice as well.

“We make it work,” said Yazzie, “You can be a great archer with cheap bow, it doesn’t have to be a fancy, expensive bow.”

For DC archer Letanya Salazar, a bronze medal award recipient for Recurve Women’s Team, the challenges she faced involved Mother Nature, location, and the caliber of athletes who were competing alongside DC.

“Obstacles we faced as a team was the weather first and foremost. The location of the range itself is in such a place where the wind was a factor to ensure its difficulty I believe. Making adjustments according to Mother Nature was inevitable from shot to shot. The heat was also a factor. Your hands sweat and your body feels the burn of the sun.”

Other factors also included the skill set of all other archers from other colleges and universities. Some archers we competed with were members of the United States Olympic Team. To compete alongside these athletes is both intimidating and inspiring. Overall we pulled together as a team helping and encouraging one another, she added.

When competing at the championships, both Yazzie and Salazar said cheering on everyone is a sign of both good sportsmanship and a winning attitude.

“This was the most important component to our good mental states as we came together to encourage and cheer each other on. It was beautiful,” said Salazar. “Also seeing our native brothers and sisters excel at their divisions was also very inspiring. Also helping one another and making suggestions.”

For Yazzie, the lessons she learned at DC as an archer will be used in life and serve as a foundation of strength, courage, and friendship.

Being encouraging is vitally important too.

“Be there for that person and say, ‘Don’t let your performance today cloud your mind because if you do, then it will affect your performance for other competitions. So, just laugh or shrug it off and learn from this experience. Don’t forget to have fun, too.’”

Salazar and Yazzie also encourage other students to get involved in archery and produce other activities to showcase the DC archery program through multi-media, archery clinics and camps, and letting students try to use the equipment during hands-on demonstrations.

Yazzie said to not be discouraged if you have a challenging time when you begin learning archery.

“If anyone is interested in archery don’t be discouraged when you realize it’s not as easy as it looks on TV. It requires hours and hours of practice,” Yazzie said.

The DC Archery Team is always looking for a few good warriors—men and women who strive for outstanding grade point averages, commit themselves to practice, and can concentrate with precision and equanimity during the heat of completion.

DC Athletic Director Warlance Foster witnessed their achievements and how they represented the College.

“Archery is an individual sport that requires each athlete to focus on the events they competed while maintaining their equipment,” Foster explained. “There is a lot involved with the sport and I’m impressed with the outcome and have gained much admiration for the sport. These student athletes earned their places and deserve to be recognized for their efforts. As a team, I seen how they have come together to overcome obstacles and perform with exceptional sportsmanship.”

Earning All-Academic honors for DC: Aliseneca Barry (Recurve Bow-Women), Shawntel Yesslith (Compound Bow-Women), Charmayne Begay (Bowhunter-Women).

All-American honors were earned by Keisha Yazzie and Barry (Recurve Bow-Women); Kristy P. Yazzie and Yesslith (Compound Bow-Women), and Begay (Bowhunter-Women).

The Recurve Mixed Team consisted of Brandon James and Barry claimed the silver medal.

Keisha Yazzie, LeTanya Salazar and Barry combined to finish with a bronze medal in Recurve Women’s Team. Yesslith garnered the bronze medal in the Compound Women category.