World Archery President: Athletes Got ‘A Very Warm Welcome’

BY JEREMY HOECK
jeremy.hoeck@yankton.net

National Field Archery Association president Bruce Cull (second right) is pictured with a group of dignitaries Sunday at the World Archery Youth Championships in Yankton. They include (L-R) Greg Easton, president of Easton Foundations; Uger Erdener, World Archery president; and Dragomir Cioroslan, director of International Strategies and Development for the United States Olympic Committee.  (Jeremy Hoeck/P&D)

National Field Archery Association president Bruce Cull (second right) is pictured with a group of dignitaries Sunday at the World Archery Youth Championships in Yankton. They include (L-R) Greg Easton, president of Easton Foundations; Uger Erdener, World Archery president; and Dragomir Cioroslan, director of International Strategies and Development for the United States Olympic Committee. (Jeremy Hoeck/P&D)

Ugur Erdener regularly travels around the world visiting archery tournaments.

He has seen events held in cities with populations ranging from hundreds of thousands on up to millions.

But for a short time this weekend, the president of the World Archery Federation got an up-close look at the World Archery Youth Championships (WAYC) in Yankton, with a population of just under 15,000 residents.

The president’s impression?

“I talked with some of our athletes, and I’m very happy that they are happy to be here,” Erdener said Sunday, shortly after the final closing ceremony.

“They got a very warm welcome from everybody here. That is very good.”

Erdener, who also serves as the president of the National Olympic Committee in his native Turkey, was one of a handful of archery dignitaries to receive a tour of the Yankton complex on Sunday. Bruce Cull, the president of the National Field Archery Association, showed the officials – from World Archery and Greg Easton, president of Easton Foundations – around the sprawling complex.

A popular sight on the tour was likely the many yellow shirts worn by the 612 volunteers who helped out with the WAYC – a “huge contribution for this event,” Erdener said.

“Their impression, our impression too, is really good,” the president said. “I would like to thank the organizing committee, especially Bruce Cull and his team.”

As part of Sunday evening’s closing ceremony, Erdener symbolically handed over a World Archery flag to an official from Argentina, which will host the next WAYC, in 2017.

Yankton, the president said, made a positive impression on the group from World Archery.

“We had a really successful event here,” Erdener said. “I would like to thank everybody who contributed something to this event.”

Dahlia Crook Back In Yankton

Team USA archer Dahlia Crook, right, high-fives coach Braden Gellenthien during Wednesday's Compound Cadet Mixed Team match against Hong Kong/China at the World Archery Youth Championships. Crook, along with Dane Johnson, advanced to Saturday's gold medal match against Mexico.

Team USA archer Dahlia Crook, right, high-fives coach Braden Gellenthien during Wednesday’s Compound Cadet Mixed Team match against Hong Kong/China at the World Archery Youth Championships. Crook, along with Dane Johnson, advanced to Saturday’s gold medal match against Mexico.

Ten months ago, Dahlia Crook won a national archery title in Yankton. While she fondly remembers that trip, the 15-year-old is back for more.

A world championship, maybe two, are what she’s after.

Crook, who lives in Piedmont, Kansas, moved one step closer Wednesday to a Mixed Team gold medal at the World Archery Youth Championships (WAYC) in Yankton.

Paired with Dane Johnson, Crook helped Team USA reach the finals in the Compound Cadet Mixed Team division, where they will face Mexico in Saturday’s final.

Crook is also the No. 2 seed in the Compound Cadet division, which will hold its head-to-head matches today (Thursday) and then have its gold medal match Saturday.

Not bad for a return trip to Yankton, albeit this time on new outdoor ranges.

“They’re huge,” Crook said. “There’s plenty of space for everyone. The last time I was here, those were for practice.”

Although Crook has already built an impressive resume in the sport, this is her first WAYC – the cadet age range is 15-17, while the juniors are 18-20.

“It’s nice to be able to compete in the US for a world event,” Crook said. “Plus it’s nice to be able to drive here and not get on a plane.”

Crook is also fortunate that when she and her family drive to Yankton, they’re not entering unfamiliar territory. She’s competed here and she’s used to shooting in a small town.

Her home town (she also travels to nearby Wichita to use a facility there) doesn’t boast nearly the community-wide support for archery that Yankton has.

“You can tell everyone here is excited for it,” Crook said. “It’s really cool how much effort everyone put into this.”

And that work hasn’t gone unnoticed, she added.

“They really make you feel comfortable and feel at home,” Crook said.

— Jeremy Hoeck