Five months ago, a group of middle and high school students were assembled together to attempt to build Edmonson County's first Archery Team. Since that time, Coach Chris Shelton says he's seen an amazing transformation, one that will possibly allow this team to compete in the National Archery in Schools Program (NASP) sanctioned Kentucky State Tournament.
The Edmonson County team traveled to Owensboro Apollo High School this past weekend to compete in their very first 3rd Regional Tournament, where they not only held their own against seasoned, veteran-led teams, but racked up a score good enough to push them into the state tournament.
In most school sports, you have a regional champion which automatically gets the bid in the state tournament. In archery, it's all based on a point system. The EC team scored in the neighborhood of 3,000 points, which according to previous years' scores, should be good enough for the team to advance. There is an element of suspense involved, as the Wildcats don't know what other teams scored over the weekend, and unfortunately, they won't know until February 16th. "I feel pretty good with where we're at with this score," Coach Shelton said. "We have a really good chance to move on." More than one team can compete within each region.
Shelton said that the school board will vote on whether or not to change the team from the current status of "club" to an official school "sport." This will allow the team to fall under KHSAA requirements and grant more opportunities as a whole. "It's hard to imagine, but in just 5 months, these kids have gone from never competing at all, to hopefully being on their way to the state tournament in Louisville," said Shelton. He also discussed the benefits that the sport gives team members. "Some of the kids don't play other sports and this gives many of them an identity they're comfortable with. We also teach them other values and accountability. They're all such a great bunch of kids, they're awesome."
The team is also coached by Wally Ritter, and Shelton said that the ultimate goal for the team is to continue their growth so that scholarship opportunities can be created, allowing some EC students a different path to college.
The Edmonson Voice salutes Coach Shelton, Coach Ritter, and another great group of kids that continue to make Edmonson County proud.
EC Archery Team, photos