Head Archery Coach Chris Shelton gathered his team together at the end of practice yesterday for a bomb shell announcement. Team members were under the impression that their inaugural season was about to come to a close, a season that was unprecedented in several ways.
For the first year program, the first accomplishment was becoming an official school sport, which began as an after school club. Next was the overwhelming support by the school system, staff, parents, and community, along with the fast skill development of team members which led to a successful regional competition, then an amazing journey to the state competition. When Coach Shelton received the call that his team had qualified for the Nationals, he said he was "blown away."
"I'm absolutely amazed," he said. "There is no way that a first year team should be where we are." Archery teams are scored on a tier-system where scores are calculated based on a number of things, some of which can be a bit difficult to follow, but the bottom line is, Edmonson County was good enough to qualify, something unheard of for a first-year program.
Watch the kids' reaction below as Coach Shelton announced the news:
The competition will be held at the Kentucky Expo Center in Louisville on Thursday, May 7th, which could have been a major scheduling conflict as ECMS is scheduled for year-end testing during that time. One student was overheard saying, "It's Nationals, man! We can take tests anytime!" Luckily for the team, Middle School Principal Brandon Prunty was very understanding.
"With the National Competition taking place during K-PREP testing, those students will have to make up the missed sessions," Prunty said. "But I'm confident they'll be successful with the competition as well as the testing. I'm very proud of all these students and Coach Shelton for this huge accomplishment, especially in the first year of their program."
Good luck to the EC Archery Team and we look forward to covering the rest of their first-year journey.
Darren Doyle, story and photos