Rivaling Katniss Everdeen in looks and skill, 14-year-old local Zoe Antone did Wānaka proud at the Archery NZ National Outdoor Target Championships in Auckland last weekend. The Mount Aspiring College student won a silver medal for the Individual 720 in the women’s intermediate recurve bow division, and a gold medal for Individual Matchplay, making her the National Individual Matchplay Champion for her division.
Individual Matchplay is an event where two-paired archers shoot on the same target (but not always) and shoot together. They shoot three arrows each set/end and the timing is 120 seconds. Following each match there is a winner and loser, the winner will advance to the next leg of the competition while the loser is eliminated. Matches are shot in three-arrow sets and the match has a maximum of five sets.
Antone’s mother, Maggie, said: “It was a tough competition and Zoe demonstrated tremendous courage, determination, sense of calm under incredible pressure and, most of all, her love of archery.” The Year 10 student agreed it was “really fun, and a good competition.”
While Antone’s main coach, Mike Smerdon, is based in Auckland, her day-to-day practise in Wānaka is thanks to Jen Jurczyluk and Glenn Sherson. Antone is a member of Sherson’s bowhunting club and regularly practises on his paddock — even during the unseasonable downpour of last week.
Antone’s next goal is to be selected to represent New Zealand in the World Archery Oceania Youth Championships, which will be held in Fiji this April. A previous Team New Zealand competitor in the 2019 Trans-Tasman cup, when New Zealand beat Australia for the first time in nine years, she has the highest qualifying scores for her division.
Then, it’s the World Youth Championships in 2021. “That’s the big one. That’s the best archers in the world,” said her father, Chris Antone.