The 3rd Battalion, 10th Infantry Regiment, faced a new format on a tougher course with more challenging terrain, as well as — according to team members — tougher competitors. But the 3-10th Inf. Bn. still managed to come out on top, earning the first-place trophy in the Commander’s Cup 3D Archery Tournament for the third consecutive year.
“They did a great job with the course, with putting the targets out there — and I think they did a great thing building camaraderie between competitors,” said Michael Gossman, a member of all three championship teams who accepted this year’s trophy alongside teammates Tyler Chambers and Nicholas Sweisberger.
Unlike Commander’s Cup archery tournaments held the past two years, where teams shot at a field of multiple targets from a single, fixed position, this year’s tournament was held on the 15-station 3D archery course at the Outdoor Adventure Center. Teams climbed up and down steep hills, shot through heavily wooded areas, over ridgelines and aimed at targets set at various distances and heights. To ensure accuracy in scoring, each team was paired with a competing team throughout the event.
“It added to the realism of it,” said Chambers, who was also a member of last year’s winning 3-10th team.
“It’s a lot more like you’re out there shooting at a live animal. It’s just a lot better set-up, a more realistic set-up,” he added.
Sweisberger, who last shot for the 3-10th on the team that took first place in 2017, agreed.“I love shooting out in the woods compared to (last time),” he said. “It makes you pick your spots. You have to adjust to each target.”
Some of the targets were tougher than others, according to Gossman.
“The bedded buck across the ridgeline on Lane Four — even though it was 50 yards on the range finder, the terrain didn’t really let you calculate for that,” Gossman said. “That was where we were falling short, and that’s where you lost some arrows. Lane Four, the bedded buck, and the standing buck on Lane 10 were where most people lost their arrows.”
Each target gave shooters a chance to earn up to 12 points for a perfect bulls-eye, 11 points for hitting targets just above or below the bulls-eye, 10 points for hitting about an inch left or right of the bulls-eye or eight points for hitting elsewhere on the target.
Sports Department representative Tatiana Pickett presented trophies to the top three teams participating in the tournament.
The 3-10th Inf. Bn. took first with a total of 362 points.
The 14th Military Police Brigade team of Travis Hallman, Lee Lingo and Dustin Doyal took second place with 323 points, while the 5th Engineer Battalion team of Michael Green, Thomas Straniere and Derek Mataczynski took third place with 322 points.
Rounding out the standings were the Medical Department Activity in fourth place (303 points), the U.S. Marine Corps Detachment (240) in fifth place, the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence (206) in sixth place and the 31st Engineer Battalion (100) in seventh place.
Gossman said the level of competition was more intense this year than previous years.
“Teams were definitely bringing their A game, so it was a lot harder and a lot more important for us to focus, concentrate and shoot,” he said.
This year’s tournament was the third since 3D archery was reintroduced to the Commander’s Cup series in 2017. The sport was introduced to the Commander’s Cup here in 2010 and continued through 2014 with tournaments taking place on the OAC course, similar to this year’s format.
Both Gossman and Chambers said this was their last 3D archery tournament on Fort Leonard Wood for the time being, as both will PCS next year. Sweisberger, however, said he planned to return.
“It was a great shoot,” Sweisberger said. “I can’t wait to do it again next year.”