KEESEEKOOSE - Like the lead character, Katniss Everdeen in the 2012 film, The Hunger Games, Lilyanna Quewezance is a 17-year-old with a special talent for archery.
The Kamsack Comprehensive Institute Grade 12 student has been invited to compete in the Team Canada 3D Archery Selection Trials on June 17-19 and will also be competing in the 2022 Canadian Outdoor Archery Championships, which will be held in Prince Edward Island from July 15-24.
The first time Lilyanna picked up a bow, she was just shy of 14 years old. Her parents, Lenora and Alvin Quewezance, were both into sports from a young age and encouraged Lilyanna to try out a number of different activities to see what might suit her best. After playing on volleyball, basketball, and baseball teams, Lilyanna found an unexpected connection to the sport of archery.
“We were out in Veregin visiting with some friends of my parents,” said Lilyanna. “And Scott Green asked me if I wanted to try out his compound bow. So, I gave it go and I thought it was really exciting and thrilling.”
Although she enjoyed her first taste of the sport, Lilyanna said her parents weren’t sure if her interest would sustain and were hesitant to invest in the required equipment. She began to train in Veregin with the Kamsack River Valley Archery Club, using some borrowed equipment, and her passion for the sport quickly grew.
Her first coach, Scott Green had the following to say about his star student:
“I started coaching Lily in the spring of 2019. She had never shot archery before. I noticed right away that she was taking an interest in the sport. Once her parents purchased her a bow of her own, she really connected with the sport and started shooting a lot better. I was quite pleased when her parents decided to sign her up for a few provincial shoots. Then she went on to a national shoot to compete against some of Canada’s best shooters. I thought she was going to have a tough go, to be honest, but I knew it was still going to be a great experience for her. I was so amazed and delighted when she made the Grand Prix shoot-off against the top three in each of the women's categories – which meant she had her work cut out for her. She was just shooting a basic starter bow against some really expensive bows. She amazed us all when she won the whole thing and brought back the Grand Prix plaque from Timberland Bowbenders in P.A. That was really a big highlight of my coaching. I felt I must be doing something right, and it wasn't about the expensive equipment…it was about the shooter. Lilyanna’s strengths are definitely good concentration, listening skills, and the ability to learn from her mistakes. I am hoping she continues archery down the road and starts competing at a higher level.”
In addition to her strides in the sport of archery, Lilyanna is graduating this June, serving as a Senior Keeseekoose Princess, and has been accepted to study fine arts at university in the fall. Her parents said they are proud that Lilyanna has shown such discipline and dedication, while steering clear of drinking, smoking, or using drugs.
When asked what advice she would give to others who might like to follow in her footsteps as a competitive archer, Lilyanna had the following advice to share:
“When you find a sport you really like – go for it. If you have a dream, whether it is the NHL or football – the sky is the limit. You can do anything you put your mind to. There are always going to be bad apples – people who try to bring you down or say you can’t do it. I say use that as motivation to keep going.”
Regarding the sport of archery, Lilyanna said she enjoys the people as much as the process.
“I remember when I first started competing and my peep sight broke right when I was about to shoot. When you’re in competition and your equipment fails, the judges give you 30 minutes to fix it. But because I was a beginner, I wasn’t prepared with replacement parts. It was actually my competitors who helped me out with pieces from their own kits so I could continue. I was just so impressed with that sportsmanship. The archery community is really friendly.”
Next month, Lilyanna will compete at selection trials in Lac La Biche, Alberta. The venue has two 24-target courses that will follow World Archery shooting rules with two arrows per target. If Lilyanna earns a spot with Team Canada, she will advance to compete at the World Archery 3D championship in Terni, Italy this September.