Three North Surry High School’s Air Force Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) cadets will advance to the national archery tournament in Kentucky May 10 after competing in one of nine virtual archery state tournaments organized by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission Friday in the school’s field house.
The effort is part of the commission’s National Archery Schools Program (NASP). Hunter Education coordinator Tim Lemons said North Surry was the only school in Wildlife District 7 to compete in the tournament.
First Sgt. Kenneth Goetzke said this is the first year for archery for JROTC at the school and the cadets had only one semester to practice for the tournament. The group was able to field eight participants for the individual competition.
“Most of our cadets were familiar with archery,” said Goetzke. “Really all we had to do was fine tune it. We chose to only let those scoring 45 out of 50 points to compete.” He said after the first practice the cadets didn’t have to rely on an arrow backstop curtain.
Cadet Austin Mundy took top honors in the individual school portion of the tournament, collecting 279 out of 300 points. Alex Mijes was second with a score of 272 and Seth Llewellyn finished third with 269 points. Mundy, who also hit the bulls eye 16 times in the tourney, took first place in the state with Mijes first in the ninth grade division and classmate Llewellyn placing second. Mijes had a total of 14 bulls eyes and Llewellyn made 11.
“This is one sport youth can really excel at,” said Lemons. “It’s pure hand-eye coordination.”
Lemons said shooting in each successive round gets more difficult because of the strain of using the 20-pound bows.
According to Bowes, participants shoot arrows valued at 10 points each for a possible perfect score of 300 points. Archers shoot from a distance of 32.8 feet and then from 49 feet in the second part of the tournament. Each half of the tournament requires archers to shoot three sets of five or 15 arrows, shooting a total of 30.
NASP was originally designed to teach international-style target archery in physical education class to grades four through 12 and its core content covers archery history, safety, technique, equipment, mental concentration, core strengthening physical fitness and self-improvement.
“I’m excited about our chances in the nationals,” added Bowes. “We’re ready to just get in the van and go.”
Bowes said one immediate benefit he has seen from the practicing is it teaches cadets the connection between mental and physical. He used the example of one participant (Nathan Caudle) whose first shot was wide of the target’s center.
“For many kids shooting wide like that would have totally rattled them,” said Bowes. “They would have just lost it. He didn’t. He stopped, concentrated on his technique, his breathing, and got it back together shot the next four arrows in the nines and tens zones. This is a lesson students can apply to a lot of situations in life and go on to succeed.”
He said the slogan is changing students’ lives one arrow at a time. It is good program to reduce drops outs and gets kids excited in school. It’s all about them getting excited about the opportunities to shoot and they don’t want to lose them. They do better in their classes.
He said much of the equipment for the program was obtained through the help of Lemons at minimal cost to the school. Archery also is taught in Surry County at Mount Airy Middle School as part of the physical education program.
Reach David Broyles at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1952.