A districtwide coed sport is beginning to really take off at Wayne County Schools. In fact, just over a hundred Wayne County students in grades four through twelve initially signed up to try out for the archery team, this season. So, practices are underway on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at their indoor shooting range in the Turner Intermediate building.
The student shooters and coaches are excited this year since they will host their first National Archery in Schools Program (NASP) state qualifier tournament on December 9 th . The competition will be held in the Wayne County Middle School Gymnasium from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. with at least eight other teams expected to travel to Wayne County to participate.
The team now consists of 74 students from elementary, middle and high school levels. Head Coach Forrest Shelton said they are adapting to some NASP rule changes this year. Third graders are no
longer eligible to participate and students cannot shoot up into school levels where they are not enrolled.
Coach Shelton said they have a mix of returning shooters, along with some new student archers. He is pleased to report that Braylee Butcher, last year’s number five ranked elementary shooter is returning as well as, number five ranked high school male shooter Taylor Bell.
The students compete in scoring groups of 24 and they take the top 12 shots scored to count their points. Last year the high school and elementary teams went all the way to nationals, which were held in Louisville, Kentucky. This year, Coach Shelton is optimistic that the middle school team will stand out since they have a lot of skilled fifth graders coming onto the team and some strong eighth graders returning. He believes the high school team will be pretty good and he will have to wait and see how the elementary shooters develop their basic skills.
Shelton said he is pleased to have the support of the following assistant coaches who have obtained basic certification: Gary Cross, Dallas and Lana Hoskins, Jennifer Shelton, Jason Lee, and Clint Edwards. Each group of 20 students practice for a round (about an hour of time) on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, so several shifts of students rotate through at practices
Archery students begin practice
Braylee Butcher was ranked #5 for elementary students last year
Head Coach Forest Shelton discussed Bryce Catron and Amelia Ramsey's shots on the target
Shooters ready to take aim
Assistant Head Coach Gary Cross aids Ryan Marcum