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Atlantic Cape archer Matthew Byrnes earns national record

Atlantic Cape archer Matthew Byrnes shooting at a competition

Atlantic Cape Community College Buccaneer archer Matthew Byrnes, 21, has earned a national record for USA Archery.

Byrnes’ record-setting score of 695 out of 720 possible points was made in April during the 50m round of the Eastern Regional Collegiate Championships at James Madison University in Harrisburg, Virginia.

Byrnes, of the Manahawkin section of Stafford Township, is in his second year at Atlantic Cape, where he is studying engineering.

Byrnes explained that he reached out to USA Archery following the competition to apply for the record. He finally heard back from USA Archery earlier this month.

“It was a pretty surreal moment for me,” said Byrnes. “I kind of teared up quite a bit. I’ve had a little bit of success in archery. Through the tournaments I traveled to I’ve done pretty well, but nothing outstanding.”

Atlantic Cape Athletic Director Jamal Edwards commended Byrnes’ dedication to the sport.

“Even with the pandemic he managed to compete at a high level and make history,” said Edwards. “I consider the archery team to be the Buccaneer Athletics' secret weapon. Coach Chad (Affrunti) has done a great job turning his athletes into top-notch archers.”

Byrnes’ journey to becoming a collegiate archer started when his father introduced him to the sport at 4 years old.

“I was pretty young, just shooting in the backyard, nothing too big,” he said. “When I was 6 or 7, I got my first tournament-style bow. I was looking to do more hunting, and then it went a completely different route into the tournament scene.”

In high school, there was no archery team so Byrnes continued to compete in tournaments independently, working in a local archery shop to help pay for the expense of traveling around the county.

After graduating Southern Regional High School in 2019, Byrnes spent one year at Ursinus College in Pennsylvania, but he missed competing in archery too much.

“I competed in track and field and it wasn’t really my thing,” Byrnes said. “After that, I really sat down and figured out what I wanted to do long-term. And archery spoke to me more.”

Byrnes knew of Atlantic Cape Community College and its strong archery team from his time in the tournament circuit, having attended many events here.

In his first year at Atlantic Cape during the 2020-21 school year, Byrnes was the only archer on the team due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and had the benefit of focused attention from coaches Chad Affrunti and John Repnicki.

“Coach Chad put 100% of his time into me and so did Coach John, and I remember we practiced five days a week and they’d be behind me every step of the way,” said Byrnes.

Setting a national record has given Byrnes the confidence he has always struggled to have in himself, and the drive to compete more and eventually place in the Top Three.

Following the April competition, Byrnes was named to the All-Eastern Regional team.

After college, Byrnes said he would continue his passion for archery. 

“I plan on pursuing mechanical engineering and to work within the archery industry one day to design products and make the sport better,” Byrnes said, adding he also wants to compete on the professional circuit.

Atlantic Cape is one of the only Division III junior colleges with an archery program. This year, the Atlantic Cape Buccaneers archery team has 19 members.

To view the archery team's upcoming schedule, visit