Archery tourney held at Phoenixville YMCA

Photo by Barry Taglieber Olivia Mulligan, age 6, fires a shot at the target during annual Archery Shootout at the Phoenixville YMCA last Saturday morning. Mullian hit from 55 yards out for the best mark ever in the tournament for her age group, and she finished second overall.

SCHUYLKILL - Jaws dropped in amazement watching the young girl perform.

The “Wows” sounded and hands clapped in unison to cheer her on.

Olivia Mulligan, a 6-year-old, put on quite a show at the annual Archery Shootout in the intense heat and humidity Saturday morning at the Phoenixville Area YMCA lower field.

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Mulligan hit the target from 55 yards away for the best mark ever in the history of the tournament and the second-best showing overall for 2012 behind only Jen Forte, who hit from 65 yards out.

There were 23 contestants in this year’s competition, including three adults and 20 youngsters ranging in age from 5 through 12.

“I started last year at camp,” said Mulligan. “I have been practicing and I am going to camp again this year.”

Mulligan is the daughter of Brian and Gisele Mulligan. She will be entering second grade at Chesterbrook Academy in Oaks in the fall. The family resides in Lower Providence.

“Her form is awesome,” praised Forte, a left-handed shooting adult. “What a great shooter.”

Joe Grejdus, a world-class wheelchair archer in the Paralympics, organized the event. He and his wife, Debbie, were in charge of the event.

“It’s her niche,” said Gisele Mulligan. “She practices at home. She goes with my husband to the Gun Club. This (sport) is it and gymnastics.”

“I love this sport,” said Olivia Mulligan, who achieved her score with a compound bow.

Five targets were used to start the competition and then some were taken down as shooters were eliminated after three tries at a particular distance.

Forte, 39, is also relatively new to the sport.

“I started last October,” said Forte, who lives on Anderson Avenue in Phoenixville. “It is something I have always been thinking about doing it for a long time. I thought I would give it a shot.”

Forte attended classes at the YMCA to get her start in archery and prepare for the summer tournament.

“I fell in love with it,” said Forte.

“I like the combination of physical skill and doing it properly and mental. It is the combination of them both, your body and your mind. I like it.”

Forte practices at French Creek Outfitters once or twice a week to stay sharp.

“They have an indoor range and it goes to 35 yards,” she said.

Forte also participates in martial arts in Audubon and in yoga at the Phoenixville YMCA to keep involved in other sports and activities.

Benjamen Donovan, 11, and Benjamen Pierce, 12, scored from 45 yards away.

Hitting the target from 40 yards out were MacKenzie Myers, 11; Lee Keele, 11; and Joshua Mitchell, 12.

Other contestants with their ages and distance scores in yards hit were as follows:

Caroline Grable, age 5, 10 yards; Kelly Grable, 7, 10; Jonah Chapman, 8, 15; Aiden Oneill, 8, 15; Callie Stoltz, 8, 20; Jessica Westervelt, 8, 20; Declcan Woodall, 8, 10; Penelope Pappas, 9, 15; Jessica Donovan, 9, 25; Gavin Bednar, 10, 25; Sabine Jante, 10, 20; Jared Wigley, 10, no score reported; Angela Moriarity, 12, 20; Samantha Schulte, 12, 30; Jennifer Schulte, 44, 20; and Diane Moriarity, 45, 30.