The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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July 16, 2014

Shady Middle archers among world’s best

Tigers finish 4th in National Archery in Schools World Championships

BECKLEY — After months of training, battling in grueling competition and one long 15-hour bus ride, Shady Spring Middle School archery can call themselves some of the world’s best.

The Tigers competed in 2014 National Archery in Schools Program World Championships, held July 11-14 in Madison, Wisc., taking home an impressive fourth-place overall finish, with a score of 3,302 points.

“It wasn’t quite the result we were hoping for,” coach John Judy said. “But I’m proud of our team.”

Judy said that his Tigers team was in third place late, but slipped into fourth place at the end of the competition.

“I honestly thought we’d be a top two or three team,” he said. “We were until the last round. We really feel like the kids burned it up from the first half, but fell apart late in the second distance — which is very unlike us. It was probably nerves.”

One thing for sure, the Tigers were used to facing the top competition. Shady Spring placed third in the National Archery in Schools Program National Championship in Louisville in May, with a score of 3,352 points. Prior to that, they had competed in the Ohio Archery Conference, one of the premiere divisions in the sport.

“We went up against the best of the best,” a proud Judy said.

Judy did wish that his team had seen more competition between the nearly two month layoff between the National and World championships.

“I think, it’s just my opinion, that the lack of competition between the two is what the difference was for us,” he said. “My kids need to compete against someone else to excel. Going two months without anything but practice didn’t help.”

There were plenty of bright spots for the Tigers, however, including the performance of Piper Burgess and Luke Jones. Burgess, with a score of 283, finished 18th out of 512 archers in the middle school girls division, while Jones, with a 284, finished 23 out of 562 in the boys division.

Chance Acord shot a 281, good enough for 39th in the boys division, while Brooklyn Jones placed 59th in the girls division with a score of 275.

“We have girls in this group that are so strong,” Judy said. “Piper is one who always shows up. To win one of these competitions, having girls is what it takes. It’s generally a weak spot for other teams. These girls are some of the best in the world.”

Other Tigers who participated included Samuel Brown (278), Luke Lilly (276), Grayson Payne (275), Jaron Bragg (274), Jacob Anderson (272), Jessica Bailey (272), Clay Blazer (270), David Fletcher (269), Emili Trail (262), Orion Munoz (262), Gabby Sizemore (26), Andrew Trump (258), Emily Sadley (257), Jacob Bennett (256), Miranda Scarbro (255), Rachel Baker (255), Cole Higginbotham (252), Griffin Aliff (233), Lilly Rasmussen (221) and Hannah Allen (203).

With the success of the middle school program, Judy hopes to see an increase in numbers next year, and a demand for archery programs in other schools.

“We’re really looking to expand into the elementary schools,” Judy said. “We need the youngest kids to have some exposure. So I’m hoping, through our exposure and success, that other schools will participate. It’s a great program.”

For more information on the NASP, visit www.nasptournaments.org.

E-mail: jrollins@register-herald.com and follow on Twitter at @JDanielRollins.

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