Mary Quien shoots into the All-East archery team

Katniss has nothing on Mary Quien.

The 20-year-old, 2010 graduate of Moorestown Township High School has been named a member of the All-East Team for her outstanding performance in compound archery on the Columbia University varsity team.

The All-East team is decided by an archer’s combined scores from three of four major tournaments throughout the season, the U.S. Indoor National East Regional, Adam Wheatcroft Invitational, the Nanook of the North, and the Eastern Regional Intercollegiate Archery Championships (ERIAC), according to the Columbia University sports department.

Quien finished as the top compound archer for the Colombia University Lions, and fifth in the region, earning the first All-East honors of her career. Her point total of 2,333 was composed of her 1,097 at Indoor Nationals, 628 at Nanook of the North, and 608 points at ERIAC, according to the department.

Compound archers use different bows than regular archers. The compound bows use modern levering and pulley systems to bend its limbs to shoot an arrow.

Making the junior’s success even more impressive? Quien never shot a bow-and-arrow in her entire life before coming to Columbia.

“I never did archery in summer camp or anything like that when I was younger, I decided to join the archery club at the university. I thought it would be a fun activity and would be great to take my mind off of problem sets while I was shooting,” she said. “It turns out that the advisor of the club is the head coach of the woman’s archery team. He saw that I was coming to all of the practices and asking him how to improve, so he invited me to walk on to the team.”

She tried out for the varsity team and was good enough to make the squad. Since then, she’s been one of the top compound archers on the team.

The archery team competes in outdoor and indoor events, Quien said, as well as team and individual challenges. Indoor competitions typically last one day, in which archers get to shoot three rounds of 20 arrows each, a total of 60 shots, and the winner is the shooter with the highest point total.

The outdoor tournaments are a bit more complicated, Quien said. The competition happens over a weekend, with the first day being a qualifying round. Archers shoot 72 rounds and then the scores are translated to rankings in a bracket. The rest of the competition is a tournament with each shooter going against each other round by round until a champion is crowned.

“Indoors is definitely a lot easier because it’s a shorter distance, it’s 20 meter, and you don’t have to worry about the wind or weather. Outdoors is definitely more challenging, it’s 50 meters, and when you’re indoors you can get away with a lot of stuff,” she said. “Outdoors is challenging, but at the same time you have team rounds and the bracket competitions, it’s a lot more fun and exciting.”

While the Olympics aren’t on her radar – compound archery isn’t a recognized Olympic event – Quien said she’ll be practicing for the national competitions next year, which features the top five archers in the country.

But if archery doesn’t work out, she can always fall back on her biomechanics degree, she said with a chuckle.

“I have a great support system, especially from my teammates. The other part is just my work ethic. It’s the same for archery as it is for my academics and everything else. I like to push myself to succeed, especially when I fail I want to do better next time and keep going. Having that resolve brings out the best in me and helps me out with my archery,” she said.

About Robert Linnehan

I wandered into this building three years ago and they gave me a job. America...What a country.View all posts by Robert Linnehan