Bergman athlete arrows college scholarship with archery
July 12, 2023
BERGMAN — Fanfare often surrounds national signing day for high-school seniors accepting college scholarships to play basketball, football, baseball and softball, but many other high-school athletes will go to college next fall thanks to other sports. In the case of Bergman senior Tripp Siemiller, it was bending a bow and launching an arrow with pinpoint precision that led to his offer from the University of Pikeville in Kentucky to shoot at the collegiate level.
Siemiller and his archery team, the Bergman Panthers, took home the title in the High School Division of the Archery in the Schools State Championship for 10- and 15-meter Olympic-style archery in March and placed 52nd at the National Archery in the Schools Program Eastern National Championship in May. Siemiller shot an impressive 283 points (out of a possible 300) at the state level, and improved upon that performance at the national shoot by posting 287 points, with 18 bull’s eyes tallied during his round of competition. His national tournament score ranked within the top 2 percent of archers at the shoot.
According to Siemiller’s father Greg, Tripp was introduced to archery through the Arkansas Game and Fish Commisison’s Archery in the Schools Program through his fifth-grade coach and fell in love with the sport after placing high enough to attend the national competition that year. This year was the first time he has been able to return to the national stage.
Greg Siemiller submitted the following letter to the AGFC to share Tripp’s experience with the program and how it enabled him to aim higher than he ever thought possible:
It is no secret Tripp was born different with a plethora of physical limitations. His mother and I have watched him struggle to fit into the mainstream of social life and be as much like the other kids as he possibly can. Tripp wanted nothing more than to be accepted as one of the kids in school. When his sister was in seventh grade, she wanted to shoot archery in the school program. Tripp went to one of her practices and immediately became infatuated with archery all because one coach asked him if he wanted to shoot. Tripp was a little reluctant to do so because he has always been aware of his “limitations”. The coach kept encouraging him to shoot and providing him with every opportunity including taking him into a secluded area to try it away from the other archers. This was the moment the gates opened. Tripp loved it and wanted to continue shooting archery. I asked Tripp what made him want to shoot archery and the answer I received was one of the most honest and heartfelt answers I have ever encountered. “It makes me like everyone else. I am not disabled when I shoot. I am just an archer.” Tripp was correct. There was no classification as “disabled,” only classified as an archer. Tripp achieved the normalcy he so longed for. All the coaches made him feel welcomed and accepted as the rest of the archers. This became his sport. His outlet from the world around him in which he was different. Fast forward months later and he was shooting the NASP National Archery Tournament as a fifth-grade archer.
Tripp became serious about archery and set goals for himself. I will never forget Tripp looking his mother and me in the eyes after that tournament and with more confidence than we had ever seen before telling us he was coming back to shoot in the Nationals again. He did. Seven years later as a senior and having his best season, Tripp and the team were able to win the Arkansas State Championship which qualified them for the National Tournament.
I never will forget Tripp looking up at me before shooting at the state championship and saying “Dad, we are going back to Nationals.” I told him that was great, but he should focus on shooting this match first. Tripp replied with, “No, Dad, you don’t understand. We are going back.” Well, he and the team did.
A few months later we found ourselves in Louisville, Ky., at the Nationals one last time. As Tripp took his lane to let the last of his high school arrows fly, I saw a confidence in him of epic proportions. As his last arrow struck the target, I knew he had shot his best, and he had.
I have said all of this (which is a well-condensed synopsis of Tripp’s story) to allow for the following overview of what the Archery in the Schools has done for Tripp. First and foremost, Tripp experienced his first-ever normalcy in his life. He was not “disabled” but was an archer. For the first time ever he was part of a team. Tripp learned how to set goals and work to achieve them. Countless hours of dedication and hard work went into his high school career. Skills that will carry over into his adult life. Tripp learned there are no limits to what he can accomplish in life and to never view himself as less of a person than anyone else.
Now I want to talk about what this program has provided for him. Tripp has received an archery scholarship to shoot at the college level. Not only at the college level, but his soon-to-be college coach has offered him the opportunity to train for Team USA Paralympic Archery Team! Yes, you read that right. A kid, with physical issues, from a very, very small town in Arkansas, now has the opportunity to further his education while having a chance to represent his country in archery competitions on the world level! Whether or not he achieves that level, the opportunity is there and he worked for it all because of what the school archery program does. This program is the most inclusive sport I have ever come across. It allows almost every child to have a chance to participate in a team sport. It provides character building and life skills no other sport can to almost every student who participates! If not for the archery program and the Arkansas Game and Fish making it happen every year across the state, I would feel safe to say Tripp would have never had the confidence and skills built inside him. Tripp would never have had the opportunities he has been presented with.
Most of all he would have never been able to experience the normalcy he has had as being an archer. This program and the Arkansas Game and Fish has molded one life in a way they may never understand!
Competition at Firing Line: Bergman archer Tripp Siemiller has competed in the AGFC’s Archery in the Schools Program throughout Junior High and High School.
Tripp with Coach: Siemiller’s fifth-grade coach, Mark Ramer, introduced him to archery, a passion that has led to a college scholarship.
Tripp at Firing Line: Siemiller will switch from NASP-approved Genesis bows to Olympic recurves for his college career.
Tripp with Target: Siemiller’s dedication to archery has taken him to state championship shoots and national level competitions.
Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter E-mails
Don’t miss another issue. Sign up now to receive the AGFC Wildlife Weekly Newsletter in your mailbox every Wednesday afternoon (Waterfowl Reports are published weekly during waterfowl season and periodically outside the season). Fishing Reports arrive on Thursdays. Fill in the following fields and hit submit. Thanks, and welcome!