Local woman Cansler comes up big on big stage as she claims world champion archery accolade

Taking aim with her bow, Jacqueline Cansler is a Huntington archer who won her class last month at the 3D Indoor World Championship, which is the biggest event of the season in indoor archery. A teacher at Huntington North High School, Cansler is hoping to share her interest in the sport with students through an archery team that she recently started up.
Taking aim with her bow, Jacqueline Cansler is a Huntington archer who won her class last month at the 3D Indoor World Championship, which is the biggest event of the season in indoor archery. A teacher at Huntington North High School, Cansler is hoping to share her interest in the sport with students through an archery team that she recently started up. Photo provided.

Originally published Feb. 2, 2016.

When Jacqueline Cansler was just getting into archery, her accuracy was so erratic that it was cause for celebration whenever she managed to plant an arrow on the target.

“When you first start shooting, you just shoot at a regular target and hope to hit the target,” she explains. “So, you’re like, ‘Yes!’ I was like, ‘I hit that! Did you see that?!’

“You’re all over the target.”

Six years later, the Huntington resident is unfazed by the challenge of hitting a bullseye no bigger than a coin on a distant target. Last month, she displayed her accuracy at the biggest event of the indoor season for competitive archers, the 3D Indoor World Championship, organized by the International Bowhunting Organization (IBO) and held in Cleveland, OH.

And Cansler came up big on the big stage, winning her class to earn the title of “world champion.”

Cansler topped the senior female hunter class.

“Which means that I go out and shoot targets that are 3D animals,” she says of the class. “So, they’re like life-size animals. You got bears, pigs, deer, bucks, raccoons.”

Cansler wields a compound bow with no scope and fires arrows using a release as compared to her finger. At the World Championship, she was tasked with hitting 40 targets. With bullseyes worth 10 points, a perfect score was 400. Cansler scored a 395.

Cansler and her husband, Eddie, who introduced her to archery, travel to competitions almost every weekend, she says. The indoor archery season begins in January and concludes around April, which is when the outdoor season starts and runs until October.

Of the two seasons, Cansler says the outdoor session is more challenging.

“You hike – a lot,” she says. “And you carry your bow. And you carry a chair, it’s called a shooting chair, and it’s like 10 pounds.”

The outdoor season has tested Cansler with a variety of difficult targets. She’s had to shoot faux animals positioned downhill and across ravines. She’s even had to take aim at an alligator partially submerged in water.

“Shooting into the water is interesting,” she comments, “because the reflection and all that kind of thing.”

Those types of conditions make it hard to not only hit the standard bullseye on targets, but even harder to hit the advanced bullseye. Those spots, Cansler estimates, are “probably the size of a nickel.” In IBO competition, with standard bullseyes worth 10 points, the advanced variety count for 11.

While Cansler is excited to have won her class at the Indoor World Championship, calling it the top achievement of her archery career, she’s even more excited by the prospect of competing at the Outdoor World Championship later this year.

“Now I want to win Outdoor Worlds,” she says. “That’s the big one. Indoor Worlds is great, but the outdoor (features) a lot more people. It’s bigger.”

Cansler will attempt to qualify for that competition by placing highly at events over the course of the outdoor season. If successful, she’ll pack her bags and head to Pennsylvania this August, in pursuit of her greatest achievement yet.

As Cansler continues to compete in the indoor season, she’s simultaneously working to get an archery team off the ground at Huntington North High School, where she teaches. She started similar teams in Anderson and Marion and wanted to follow suit when she arrived in Huntington at the beginning of this school year.

A callout meeting drew over 100 students, says Cansler, who will serve as the team’s head coach. The team’s first official meeting was set for Monday, Jan. 30, at Bass and Bucks, in Wabash. A hunting and archery shop, Bass and Bucks will serve as the team’s sponsoring club, notes Cansler. The shop will have staff members on hand to instruct team members, as well as service their equipment.

The team is open to more than just students from the high school, Cansler says. The program the team will be participating in, Scholastic 3D Archery (S3DA), accepts third-graders and up.

While there is a fee to join the team, Cansler notes that it covers the cost of membership to S3DA, liability insurance, practice times and a team T-shirt. She also points out that equipment will not be provided, but will be available to purchase at Bass and Bucks.

While Bass and Bucks will serve as the team’s home, Cansler hopes to hold a practice in Huntington once a week. She envisions the practice day being Tuesday or Thursday, with the location being either the Huntington North fieldhouse or the Horace Mann Elementary School gym.

The benefits to learning archery, says Cansler, are numerous.

“It’s a great scholarship opportunity for kids, because you can get full-ride scholarships to colleges for archery and a lot of people don’t know that,” she shares.

“Archery also gives an opportunity for kids that aren’t your typical athlete to do an athletic sport and feel like they’re part of a team. You get a lot of kids that have never participated in any kind of competition just shine at this.

“It really helps boost their self-esteem and self-confidence and feel really good about where they’re going.”