(FRANKLIN SPRINGS, Ga.)--We recently caught up with Rodney Estrada, the newly appointed Head Coach for the new men's and women's archery teams at Emmanuel College. Coach Estrada brings an elite level of archery that will bring glory to our beloved Lord and Savior and send ambassadors for Christ into the archery community. He lives in Lavonia, Ga., where he owns a multi-discipline archery and shooting range complex.
Q: Can you us a brief overview of archery? As an Olympic sport? What other schools have teams?
A: Archery is probably one of the most ancient sports man has invented. Originally a hunting necessity, archery has grown into a target sport that has a worldwide following and support from many nations. There are several forms of archery, including FITA Target Archery, Field Archery and 3D Archery. Our teams will try to field squads in each when possible but with a focus on FITA target archery. FITA target archery, or what is considered theinternational form of archery, is what you see being shot with compound and recurve bows at targets set at various distances. Archery is an Olympic sport, and I have been involved in the Olympic movement as I helpedpick the U.S. Men's and Women's Olympic Teams in both able bodied and para-Olympic genres for 2012. Archery is an Olympic sport, however, only only recurve bows as compound bows are not yet allowed. There are manyschools that have teams all over the nation. I am a certified collegiate archery coach and judge and have coached Georgia Tech for several years to national tournaments. At these national shoots, we have 800 or more participants from more than 150 schools from all over the nation.
Q: Where do you expect to find shooters? Co-ed? Do most come from hunting or target shooting backgrounds? Will they have their own bow and safety equipment?
A: I amdeeply tied into the archery community as a national coach and national judge. I have worked extensively in local, national and international archery for years. I intend to tap into the talent I work with annually to fill a roster of archers who represent our Christ-centered mission. Most of our archers comefrom a variety of beginnings. Some start directly in target archery, some start as hunters and move into the target arena and others combine target archery with 3Darchery. With regard to equipment, every bow is per person in auniquely tailored way. The bow fits the archer like a glove and has been tailored to fit the size, body requirements and style of the archer. Every archer will have his or her own equipment right down to the arrows. A greatdeal of physics goes into a successful archery setup and, fortunately, Emmanuel College archers will each have their own unique equipment.
Q. Where will EC practice? Will EC be able to host events? When is the season?
A: Emmanuel College will practice at my private ranges. I own an indoor range, an outdoor range and all the equipment necessary to hold and carry out practices. I have big plans for Emmanuel College Archery, including ideas on hosting events. I intend, with Emmanuel leadership's guidance, to bring a major event on an annual basis to Emmanuel College. This qualifier event will see archers from around the world coming to our campus to qualify to make a World or Untied States Archery Team. I have already started an annually-held South Eastern Series of shoots that I am looking forward to turning over to Emmanuel College. God's glory and His shining jewel that is Emmanuel College will be seen by the archery world. The season is broken into two distinct sessions. We have a series of indoorshoots, in which archers shoot a distance of 18meters at a 40cm target face or smaller. Our outdoor season starts in roughly late-March andruns through August. Depending on the type of game we are shooting, our furthest distance can be set at 90 meters and shooting at a face that is 122 cm wide. 90meters is a distance from field goal to field goal on an American football field and 122 cm is 52 inches. It is an awesome and inspiring feat of strength, endurance and talent to see archers successfully make that shot. This unique season will fill the vision that President Stewart has to have Emmanuel College become more of a 12-month campus. This will certainly bring that 12-month vision to our school.
Q. What excites you about the program?
A. I honestly thought I had a mission I took on to bring people to Christ through my ministry in archery. I never expected to meet so many Christ-centered people striving to bring athletics to the world with the Kingdom of God as our goal. What a glorious thing to know that others are working towards the same end. I embrace my brothers and sisters in Christ and gladly accept the challenge to expand my ministry and grow the sport with a Christ-centered focus. I am so happy that God has put me on this plan. My coach, Coach Kisik Lee, the head coach of the United States Olympic and Junior Dream Team, is a powerful man of Christ. I hope to only begin to touch on what he has accomplished for archery and for Christ.
Q: Are any big events planned?
A: There is an exciting season before us. We start our season with a series of indoor national championships. Emmanuel will try to immediately field a team to represent us at the national level. I hope to this year field a team for the outdoor season. One of my many goals is for our Emmanuel College students to make a United States Archery Team or even the Olympic Team. One of the current Olympic Team members, Jacob Wukie, is a brother in Christ, and I am proud to see him represent our Lord and Savior through my sport, archery. I hope to send Jacob fellow brothers and sisters of Christ to carry the Word of God to the world. Stay tuned for awesome events coming to Emmanuel College.
Q: How would prospects get in touch with you or tryout for the program?
A: I can be reached at 706-491-8164. I need to make sure that we follow regulations for recruiting athletes, and a phone contact would be the best way to make sure we are following those protocols. A tryout would be scheduled as well as a series of interviews. Archers selected should be academically strong, have participated in archery at the national level, represent the beliefs of our Christian foundation and be someone who can represent those beliefs in his or her actions. This is a very careful selection process. Not everyone will get a spot, but everyone will be given a chance.
Q: Anything else the new fans of EC Archery need to know?
A: Great things are in store for our college. I am a National Level IV/NTS coach. That is the second highest coaching level you can reach and has only been conferred to a grand total of about 36 people in the world. I am a National Archery Judge and that is equally as elite, as there are only about 9 active National Judges in the western hemisphere. I have been trained by Coach Kisik Lee, who has led more people to Olympic and World Championships/medals than anyone else in the history of Archery. I have been a part of Archery for many years. There are many more accolades and certifications I hold, but what is important is why I do this. My Archery ministry is based in how I bring people to the illuminating light of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Watch our program grow and when one day you see an Emmanuel College Archer taking the podium at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, know that you are looking at a citizen of the United States and a person whose name has been written into the Book of Life. What an awesome thing our Lord has created with Emmanuel College.