A Louisiana archer who finished in the Top 10 at a prestigious national tournament this year has his sights set on something even bigger — winning a national title.
Jacob Robertson, a 16-year-old junior at Tioga High School, lived up to some prophetic words this spring from his father when he finished 6th by shooting a 294 at a national tournament in Kentucky. Robertson, the son of Byron and Stephanie Robertson, had a sophomore year to remember.
“I told him once he gets past 290, he’ll do it all the time,” Byron Robertson said. “It was a mental block.”
His son took those words to heart. The prediction boosted the high school student athlete’s concentration and confidence.
The teen archer consistently shot in the upper 270s and 280s before the big breakthrough came in November, 2021, at the GCS Warriors Tournament in Alexandria. He broke 290 that weekend with a 291 to win the High School Division.
His father, a retired administrator for regional nursing homes, was right. More 290s and higher scores followed before and after the Archery in Louisiana Schools State 3D Tournament on Jan. 21 of this year in Alexandria, where his son shot 291.
Icing on the cake
The icing on the cake came during an eastern swing to Kentucky for Archery Shooters Association archery tournaments May 12-14. He was 6th out of 940 high school boys at the 2022 NASP Eastern National IBO 3D Challenge in Louisville with a 294, tying his personal best from a local tournament in January.
“He was the 6th highest shooter at nationals last year (season),” his father said. “I was just hoping he’d be in the Top 100. For a while there he was in first.”
The younger Robertson said, “That was really crazy. That was like the peak. I mean, 6th in the country! That’s crazy. It was great. It was quite an experience.”
His goal is to join the “300 Club” — a perfect score — before he graduates from high school.
Robertson, who has earned approximately $3,000 in scholarship money halfway through his junior year in high school, and THS have risen to the top in ALAS.
He went into 2022 ranked as the No. 1 ranked Louisiana high school archer based on max scores and was ranked 9th nationally. This spring he won an individual state championship while leading the high school to a state team title.
Robertson is proud of his accomplishments, as are his parents.
“I had a really great year, especially at the end of the year … got up to 294,” he said about his sophomore season of 2021-22.
Lighting it up
Robertson’s parents gave him a bow when he was a fifth-grade student. His father said he thought his son would shoot targets around the house.
Now, five years later, Byron Robertson said, “He’s lighting it up. This kid is a really, really good, good shooter. It’s just a natural, God-given talent.”
“Oh, yeah, I’ve come a long way,” Jacob said, crediting three coaches.
He shoots ALAS events with a Genesis compound bow and ASA competitions with an Elite compound bow with large, long stabilizers.
Robertson learned the sport at each level, first under the tutelage of Richard “Coach T” Toepher at Ball Elementary School, then Mary Mattox at Tioga Middle School, then Holley Pace at Tioga High School.
About Toepher, he said, “He’s a great archery coach there. He taught me how to shoot a bow.”
Mattox, who also was his math teacher, helped him grow into the sport even more.
“I think my junior high coach got me up there. I really started seeing the jump in junior high school. That’s when I really started getting everything down,” he said, noting the sport has mushroomed in popularity the past few years at TJH, adding his freshman year about 50 students tried out while last year there were approximately 200.
A strong team
He is gung-ho about THS, the defending state champs.
“I think this is the strongest Tioga’s been in a while,” he said about 2022-23. “I think Tioga will be even stronger this year.”
He devoted all of his attention and extracurricular activities to archery his sophomore year in high school. That meant giving up his days and nights on the gridiron.
“I used to play football my freshman year,” he said. “I just wanted to focus on archery.”
With scholarship money in hand, Robertson is considering pursuing higher education and continuing his love for archery at the collegiate level.
“I’ll definitely look for colleges,” he said. “I’ll definitely look at putting the money somewhere.”
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