Wayne County High School Senior Ragan Shelton was honored at a recent signing ceremony in the school library. Her family, school administrators and fellow archers were on hand to witness her signing to join the Patriots Archery Team with the help of an athletic scholarship.
She will be attending the University of the Cumberlands, a private college, which has grown to become the fourth largest educational institution with an enrollment of 17,000 – just behind University of Kentucky, University of Louisville, and Western Kentucky University. Last year, the tuition dropped by 57 percent and this fall all full time students will receive free books.
Patriot Head Archery Coach Kris Strebeck said he has known Ragan for three or four years. “She has shot a lot of NASP and S3DA. She has done really well. Her 3DA involvement will be similar to the college level so she’ll make and easy transition from high school to college.”
“Ragan is going to be a good fit for our program. One of her teammates is Elliott Cross, who graduated from Wayne County High School last year. We have a coed team and it takes both males and females to be successful in the NAIA in the Mid-South Conference.”
“She’s going to come in the Bow Hunter Women’s Class and we feel like she’ll be successful there,” said Coach Strebeck. “We have a young team and she will grow with them. We have 32 shooters and 17 are freshmen.”
Cumberlands’ archery program is in its ninth year and they offered the first varsity archery program in the state of Kentucky.
Wayne County Athletic Director Kevin Jones welcomed Ragan and her friends and family to the ceremony. He expressed the school’s happiness in this scholarship opportunity that will take her to the next step in her archery career. “We are super proud of you at Wayne County,” said Jones. “We are happy for this day and to see another one of our athletes succeed in going to the next level of academics, which is what were really all about.”
Wayne County High School Principal Justin Alley echoed Jones’ well wishes for Ragan. “We have an exceptional archery program that has seen several students receive scholarships. It is always exciting to see our students further their love for their sport at the next level. We’re also happy for her family for the opportunities that the scholarship has given.”
Ragan’s parents, Forrest and Jennifer Shelton were praised for their contributions to the school archery program that has grown considerably over the past several years for elementary, middle and high school students. Forrest serves as the head coach and Jennifer assists in a support role putting in considerable time at practices and on the road at tournaments.
“I think we’ve come quite a-ways,” said Wayne County Head Coach Forrest Shelton. “We got Assistant Coach Gary Cross in on the ground level” which has been invaluable.
“Ragan has been on any archery team I’ve been a part of,” said Shelton. “She’s had a lot of help to get here shooting at home and competitively. This county has a great 4-H program, good school archery program and are very fortunate to have a S3DA program here. Bobby and Kristy Upchurch do a great job in 3D Archery. I like having both programs. The blend of that has helped Ragan and other local archers.
“We have so many kids that live and die on every shot. But, you’ll never know what Ragan’s shooting,” noted Coach Shelton.
Ragan does not change her demeanor or facial expression when shooting. ”She is solid under pressure. Her mother and I are super proud of her,” added Coach Shelton. “She is a rock.”
Ragan, who has a 4.0 grade point average and has never made a B in her entire school career, told the crowd, “Thanks for coming, I’m excited about this new journey.”
She is hoping to become a high school history teacher and will major in education. She is a member of the school BETA Club where she has served as secretary and treasurer, as well as FCA and FCCLA.
“Wayne County Schools have prepared me enough to take college classes while in high school that are preparing me for college,” said Ragan. “Being on the archery team has given me the opportunity to meet people I needed to meet to be in college. I’ve made friends I’m going to have the rest of my life.”
“I’d like to thank my parents for giving up everything and giving me the best opportunities I can have,” said Ragan
Athletic Director Kevin Jones speaking on athletics after high school
Principal Justin Alley speaking his kindest remarks about Ragan and the Wayne County archery program as a whole
Ragan signing the paper to enroll the University of the Cumberlands
Ragan Shelton with her family
Ragan with her coaches
Front row (l-r): Gary Cross, Forrest Shelton, and Bobby Upchurch
Back row (l-r): Clint Edwards, Dallas Hoskins, Principal Justin Alley, and Athletic Director Kevin Jones
Ragan with her Monticello Coaches Deana Hart and Marla Kelsch when she first started shooting on a school team.
Ragan Shelton talking to Head Coach Kris Strebeck and Assistant Coach Caleb Kirby