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Hittin’ The Town: Hitting the mark at a local archery range

Hittin' the Town: Taking Aim at a Good Time at AJ Archery
Published: Apr. 15, 2022 at 6:20 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - There are a lot of options in the 419 when it comes to entertainment for the whole family. There’s one in particular that’s right on the mark.

Archery dates back thousands of years. While people still hunt with bows and arrows today, it has also been a popular sport for centuries.

“It’s a life-long sport you can start when you are really little. We’ve had some start as young as two and I’ve taught someone as old as 85.”

Audrey Berning-Matell is the owner of AJ Archery in downtown Toledo’s Secor Building.

“This is not a job. It’s my passion, so I don’t work a day in my life anymore,” said Berning-Matell.

There are classes for all skill levels and they fill up quickly. Some of the students drive more than an hour.

“Even in a group lesson I keep my numbers low so I can have enough time for everyone.”

Audrey trains children and adults, and many of them compete on the national stage.

“What does it take to be a good archer? Patience, practice and attention to form.”

16-year-old Johnathan Willhite started his archery career less than a year ago, and he’s already competed at nationals.

“The best way to put it is you’re kind of free at the moment when you’re shooting,” Willhite said. “You have to focus on everything then and there. There is nothing else to do but focus on that target.”

Win or lose, Audrey says the rewards of learning and perfecting the sport of archery have far reaching effects for her students.

“It is so cool to watch them grow as an archer, not only in the skills but also their mental ability to focus and concentrate,” Berning-Matell said. “I get calls from parents saying they are doing so much better in school too. It feeds their whole being.”

Some of the students practice five and six days a week, and many can shoot up to 200 arrows in an hour.

If you would like to learn more about AJ Archery, click here.

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