Wayne County’s Taylor Bell not only travels across the country on archery circuits and is the top archer on the school’s archery team, but he also serves as the commander of the WC JROTC Battalion, in addition to being an outstanding academic achiever.
Bell sets his sights high and is a remarkable young man, having received five different scholarship opportunities. Lindsey Wilson College was grateful that he chose to be a part of their program after being awarded an impressive four-year scholarship. He is among the first recruits to help them get their archery program started.
Lindsey Wilson Head Coach Mike Willis visited the Wayne County High School just before spring break for a signing ceremony honoring Bell for his outstanding accomplishments. He is the first archer to put such a prestigious scholarship to use as he furthers his education at the college level.
“This is a monumental event for our archery program at Wayne County Schools,” said Wayne County Athletic Director Kevin Jones. “This scholarship speaks volumes about Taylor and how our archery program can help students have a chance at a quality education. Lindsey Wilson is getting a great shooter.”
Taylor, the son of Tim Bell and Lisa Bell, graciously expressed his thanks to the crowd gathered in the school cafeteria that wanted to wish him well. He thanked his lifelong friends, coaches and family. “Just because I’m leaving, doesn’t mean I’m not going to be watching what the archery team is doing and the Raider Team.”
“My family has helped me tremendously,” noted Taylor.
He has poured his strong work ethic into shooting to get to this point. He said his daily routine after school or after Raider practice includes shooting until dark and then coming in at night to work on his academics. He has a 4.1 grade point average and nine hours of college credit.
He said he drives himself to be the best he can be. “I have a saying, if you’re not first, you’re last!”
“My dream is to go pro someday,” said Taylor, even though his schedule already resembles a professional athlete. He competed at a tournament in Paris, Texas, over spring break where he won third place and has been in the top 10 at all of the Pro-Am Tournaments he has participated in over the past three years. For instance, he has been named ASA Pro Tournament third place Shooter of the Year, ASA Pro Tournament in Augusta, Georgia for first place High School Pins, ASA Pro Tournament Fort Benning, Georgia second place High School Pins, and ASA Pro Tournament Foley, Alabama and Metropolis, Illinois third place High School Pins.
Taylor has earned over 150 trophies and medals from 4-H, NASP, S3DA, and ASA Archery. He was S3DA Runner-up National Indoor Competition and S3DA State Indoor second place Shooter of the Year. He placed fifth at the NASP state High School Boys competition (fifth out of 1,165 shooters). He won a $1,000 scholarship from NASP archery for placing in the top 10 for senior males in the state competition. In 2017 and 2018, he was named the NASP second place Region High School Boys competitor.
His remarkable archery career got started when he was nine-years-old through 4-H shooting Recurve, Bare, Bow hunter and Target classes – which is all four categories of competition. He has competed on the Wayne County High School Team since fifth grade through the NASP school archery program. During the past three years he has been part of the S3DA (Scholastic 3-D Archery) program. Those competitions were followed up by the ASA (Archery Shooters Association) Pro Tournaments over the past three years.
“I have no memory without having a bow. I grew up hunting in the outdoors and then started shooting competively in 4-H,” said Taylor.
“I am absolutely prepared for college,” proclaimed Taylor. “As much pressure as Wayne County High School puts on you, plus the Raider Team and Archery Team….college will be a natural thing for me.”
Taylor is especially appreciative of Wayne County Archery Coach Forrest Shelton and his friend and mentor Jerome Barrier for their influence on his archery career.
“Taylor has been a rock for our program for many years,” said Coach Shelton. “He is the best NASP shooter that Wayne County has ever had. I have always been able to count on him. He is always ready to compete. Not only that, but he will help the small kids also. It has been a great experience knowing him.”
Lindsey Wilson Head Archery Coach Mike Willis added, “I’d like to thank Wayne County for allowing me to come in here. This is the beginning of a good program we will have, especially with the quality of the recruits we are getting that has exceeded our expectations.”
“Wayne County is becoming a recruiting hot-bed for us,” said Willis.
Lindsey Wilson College archers compete in the Mid-South Conference, which is a part of the U.S. Collegiate Archery Association. Willis has known Taylor for some time through competitions across the country. Willis has a wealth of knowledge coaching sports and has served as a S3DA Club owner and USA Level 3 instructor.
“Being very familiar with Taylor, I know he is one of the most well-rounded shooters in NASP, S3DA, and ASA I’ve ever met. I knew he would be a great addition to our team. He is a very likable young man,” said Willis.
“He has already won some pro-ams on the national circuit,” said Willis. “He is always a threat when he shows up. He will be a leader on our team because his experience lends itself to that.”
Coach Willis said Taylor will be majoring in criminal justice on the law enforcement side. “It is one of our most popular majors. He has a very good four-year package.”
He and Taylor agree that archery is a family sport. “Being on the team is about building memories, having fun and competing together. We compete against each other, but we are also each other’s biggest fans and supporters,” said Taylor.
“Archery has not only brought me success and enjoyment, but I have made some lifelong friends from all of Kentucky and from other states,” concluded Taylor.
Taylor Bell signs with Lindsey Wilson as his Mom Lisa Bell looked on.
Taylor shakes Lindsey Wilson's Head Archery Coach Mike Willis' hand
A hug from mother to son
Family portrait - (l-r):Jerry Adkins, Lisa Bell, Taylor Bell, Shelby Bell, and Dorothy Adkins
Taylor was joined by all the coaches that have helped him with his sporting career
(l-r back): WC Assistant Coach Clint Edwards, Taylor Bell, and WC Assistant Archery Coach Gary Cross
(l-r front): WC Assistant Coach Dallas Hoskins, WC Head Coach Forrest Shelton, and LW Coach Mike Willis
Members of the Archery team joined him at the ceremony
Taylor chatting with his new coach after the ceremony