The did have a competition coming up, though.
"It was three guys. We couldn't even practice, and I hadn't done it since I was a kid," said Ryan Whitehair, one of the original team members.
Whitehair had seen a flyer on campus advertising the team and signed up. He recalled his childhood in Kayenta, Ariz., where he often spent the days watching his cousins hunt in the open. He thought he would just try it for fun.
"I love Westerns. You know, with the Indians and the bows," said Whitehair. "It's kind of like going back to our roots."
The first competition did not go great, but it went well enough considering that the team received its equipment in the mail three days before.
Three years later, the team is hitting its mark.
Today, the team has 11 regular team members, and about 26 students who practice, some of them more regularly than others.
Just last month, the United States Collegiate Archery Association accepted the team into the organization for participation. This month, the team participated in one of the organization's events for the first time.
"Right now, the archery team is really taking leaps and bounds," said Whitehair, who now is regularly placing in the top three during competitions.
His old nickname was
"Buckshot" when he first joined the team because his shots went "everywhere,"
The team is striking gold, silver and bronze during competitions.
The team, which now is made up of both men and women, since 2010 has been raking in medals in the competitions between tribal colleges in the nation.
Though the team only started competing at the collegiate level, it has done well there too. The team brought home two gold medals and two silver medals from the most recent competition.
"There's quite a few of them that have been hunting with their families before, and there's a growing group that have just improved vastly," said Clyde Henderson, Navajo Tech librarian and also instructor for the team. "Some of them just picked it up, you know, maybe they saw the Hunger Games.'"
Henderson has noticed increasing interest from students as the team has improved and gained recognition. The team eventually hopes to offer scholarships to students interested in joining, though it will have to expand the program and get more funding.
"Eventually we will, but it's a matter of staying active with the intercollegiate membership," Henderson said.
Being part of the intercollegiate organization will hold the team to higher standards because the rules are stricter and more aligned with Olympic standards than those set by the tribal colleges.
The members will practice with targets set at longer distances and practice using updated equipment.
The team is set to compete this weekend in Green Bay, Wisc. in a tribal college competition, where they are expected to continue their sweep of medals.
"The enthusiasm is running high," Henderson said.
Jenny Kane can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 505-564-4636. Follow her on Twitter @Jenny_Kane