South Decatur Elementary School (SDES) celebrated a big win for their archery team, who just qualified to compete at the world championships.
The team of 24 exceeded all expectations when they qualified for advancement through regional, state, and now national levels of competition. The nationals, which took place May 9 in Louisville, Ky., featured more than 9,000 archers, while the state level had over 4,000 competitors. Teams move forward by earning a minimum score of 3,000. The SDES team scored high enough to advance to the next level with their highest score yet, 3,150.
SDES principal, Kara Holdsworth, approached sixth grade teacher and archery coach, Clint Pride, two years ago with the idea to start an archery team, but it didn’t become a reality until this year. Pride has been involved with archery for more than 30 years as an active participant in various 3D shoots, hunting, and competitions.
In addition to Mr. Pride, there are three certified trainers who assist with the practice and safety of the group. Kevin Doyle, Ben Walker, and Wendy Kopplin learned the skills necessary to aid the team in honing their talents while still keeping everyone safe.
While there are only 24 active shooters on the team, there are an additional 50 members in the archery club. Membership in the club allows students to continue working towards qualification as they improve their skills. Shooting spots are determined by qualifying shoots where the top 24 scorers are then allowed to go on to competition. Due to the overwhelming interest from students, SDES staff felt that they only had the resources to allow fifth and sixth graders to shoot while still keeping everyone safe, though fourth grade is allowed to be included in the elementary division. Both Pride and Holdsworth expect a huge turnout for next year’s team and club. Students are also learning archery in physical education classes during school hours.
The team practices at least once a week in the SDES gymnasium on an assembled shooting range. Access to the gym is closed during this time for safety reasons. The students practice shooting in conditions similar to what they would face in competition, as well as shooting at competition distances of 10 and 15 meters. In addition to practices at the school, Pride said that Tom from Cutting Edge, the Greensburg sporting good store, has been incredibly gracious in allowing students to practice there.
While the team has the equipment they need, their current concern is raising the funds for travel and expenses to take the students to the three day world championships in St. Louis June 28-30. Anyone wishing to make a donation may contact South Decatur Elementary School at 812-591-3115.
Pride said he and SDES wish to extend their thanks to the National Wild Turkey Foundation, Greensburg Chapter, Whitetails Unlimited, Quails Forever and Cutting Edge Sporting Goods.
With such a wildly successful year for the SDES archery team, Decatur County residents will likely be eager to see what students can accomplish next year. The 2013 team is going to leave an impressive legacy for all those that follow behind them.
Contact: Amanda Browning 812-663-3111 x7004