By J. Daniel Rollins
Register-Herald Sports Writer
SHADY SPRING —
Bowhunting season may have ended on Dec. 31, but for students in Shady Spring, the arrows have continued to fly.
John Judy is the coach for the Shady Spring elementary, middle school and high school archery teams. This weekend, his teams will be competing in the WVDNR State Championships in Charleston.
“The teams have been in existence for three years,” Judy said. “Last year we were fortunate to finish third in the state. We’ve lost some key components, but we’re going to be right there in the mix this season.”
The Tigers are one of only two high schools in the county with archery programs, with Independence starting a team this season.
“We travel to places like Elk view, Ripley and Cabell Midland for meets,” Judy said.
Archers are given a total of 20 shots from 10 meters, with 15 being scorable on a range from 10 (bull’s-eye center) to a miss. At the end of the 10 meter round, the competitors move back to 15 meters and do it again.
“A perfect score is a 300 for an individual and for teams it’s 3600,” Judy said. “For the team aspect, it has to be a coed team with at least four girls.”
The Tigers will be looking for Dillon Meador and Zach Hardy to lead their way to victory today in the championships. Hardy qualified in the top 8 for the tournament while Meador recently shot a 280 in Ripley.
While not the traditional sport many associate with prep athletics, it’s one growing in the region, likely due to the massive interest in outdoor recreation and bowhunting.
“This year was a little down for whatever reason,” Judy said.
His high school team has 18 archers while his elementary and middle school team has 49 combined archers. The middle school may be Judy’s best chance to bring a championship home to the Tiger faithful. They’ve previously placed in the top 20 in the nation.
“Right now my middle school is undefeated,” Judy said. “We go nip and tuck with Ripley every year. Right now Ripley (Middle School) is an 8-time defending champion but we’ve beat them 4 times this season. I’m hoping to keep that going.”
Judy said that the sport is growing in the middle school level, but suffers from a significant drop when kids get to high school.
“At the middle school, I’ve seen 140 to 160 kids come out, but when they get to high school you have so many other things for them to do with track and tennis and baseball and jobs. They get pulled in so many directions. It wears the high school team a little thin.”
“Somebody really needs to step up and introduce the sport to the elementarys chools around the county,” Judy continued. “It would help out a lot.”
The WVDNR State Championship will take place at the Charleston Civic Center today with the high school shooting from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. while the middle school will shoot from 12 p.m. until 1 p.m. and the elementary schools will shoot from 10 a.m. through 11 a.m.
— E-mail: jrollins@
register-herald.com and follow on Twitter at @JDanielRollins.