Cove students take aim at state archery contest
Special to Leader-Press
Critical thinking, responsibility, time management. These are just a few of the life skills that CCHS agriculture students have learned through archery. Honing these skills have propelled them to the state competition in the program’s first year.
The CCISD Board of Trustees approved archery for students currently enrolled in an agriculture class and active members of FFA. Nineteen students were selected for the inaugural team and were taught the fundamentals of archery from teacher Danielle Sherwood.
“Some of the things they learned were stance, how to nock an arrow, how to determine their draw hand, determining their dominate eye, aiming, shot set-up, anchoring, proper release, follow through, how to hold the bow, the basic parts of a bow and arrow,” Sherwood said. “Some of the challenges for archery during the first year were the differentiating skill levels of students, acquiring all the equipment necessary for archery competitions and maintenance of the equipment. All equipment must meet the National Archer in the School Program guidelines or the students will be eliminated from competitions.”
Students qualify for the state tournament based on their scores for their 10- and 15-meter flights. Students can qualify as a team and as an individual based upon their scores. The team makeup is 12 to 24 members, where the top 12 scores are tallied for the total team score. The top five male scores and the top five female scores at the state tournament are awarded scholarships and qualify them for the national tournament. Also, the top five teams automatically qualify for the national contest as do the teams with the minimum qualifying scores.
All 19 members of the archery team qualified for the state tournament held at the Belton Expo Center. The students’ scores were surprisingly competitive for the program’s initial year.
“I’ve been certified for 3 years to instruct archery through the NASP and this is the second program that I have had the privilege to start during my career,” Sherwood said. “The secret to the success of this program is due to the students’ hard work. They practiced four days a week both before and after school. Their vigorous practice schedule has taught them life skills such as responsibility and time management.”
The time management piece is especially difficult for archer Bridget Van Hecke.
“Archery is fun, but a lot of responsibility because I am involved in multiple school programs.”
Sherwood says critical thinking must be used to master aiming. Aiming does not come easily and is the hardest skill to learn.
“Not only do students need to make adjustments as they are shooting, they have to shoot from both the 10- and 15-meter distances. This might seem like a small amount change between distances, but it completely changes where the student aims,” Sherwood said.
The most alarming thing for several of the archery students, including Emilee Kirk, is having an audience while they compete.
“I had to learn how to tune out my surroundings and focus on my stance and aiming to ensure I was successful,” Kirk said.