Former state champion leaves behind archery legacy

It’s not a more common individual sport like track and field or maybe golf, but it’s one of the most unique.

“Archery can help kids in so many ways,” said Summersville senior Savannah Sadler.

For Savannah, archery is her sport. She’s a Missouri State champion, and has even placed in national and world events.

“I was always good, but nothing like this,” said Savannah’s dad Jeff Sadler,

Savannah’s accomplishments certainly make her dad very proud. Yet, she says her proudest achievement doesn’t involve a bullseye.

“I want to nurture young archers more than I want to nurture myself, because their success means more to me than my own,” Savannah said.

This year Savannah got that chance. After three seasons with Norwood’s archery program, Savannah moved to Summersville where her dad started teaching.

Together, they built the archery program from scratch.

“These are all first time shooters,” Jeff said. “Not one had shot in any type of competition.”

So Savannah began that nurturing process, teaching her teammates one arrow at a time.

“I kind of had to take a step back from myself shooting for a while so I could help them get to a level where they could shoot and do decent without me hovering around them,” Savannah said.

“It would not have come along at all without [Savannah’s help],” added Jeff.

Over time, the new archers gained confidence and watched their scores rise. Eventually, the team had qualified for state.

“For a first year team to qualify, that is almost unheard of,” Jeff said.

The unlikely accomplishment made it that much tougher when the pandemic hit and wiped out the state tournament.

“When I delivered the news to my team that we were not going to go to state, once they left I broke down,” Savannah said. “Because this experience was the best I’d ever had in my life.”

True to form for any great archer, Savannah has put her last shot behind her, now focusing on her next target.

“I hope to one day make it to the Olympics and have my own time in the spotlight and my own time where I win,” Savannah said.

From there, Savannah can use her winning experience to do what she loves most, by teaching her sport to others.

She hopes to become an archery instructor one day after competing for the team at Lyon College in Arkansas.

Jeff says he won’t return to Summersville but says the school has informed him it will continue the archery program.

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