Three hundred fifty student archers, representing 20 different schools, competed in the first annual Southeast Arkansas National Archery in the School Program’s Regional Archery Tournament Saturday on the campus of Monticello High School.
In order to advance to state, teams had to place in the regional tournament.
The students were divided up into groups, called flights, to shoot rounds in the contest. Each archer would shoot targets from 10 and 15 yards away from the target. Each archer only shot one round at each.
“Everything is kind of repetitive,” Sam Donaldson, member of the Drew County Bowhunters Association, said. “Pretty much they go up and shoot. Then another group goes up there and shoots. It just repeats over and over.”
Once everyone has shot, the scores are tallied and announced.
In the regional tournament, the scores are combined to create a team score. The highest scores win.”
The tournament winners in the elementary division were: third place – Monticello with 2,388 points; second place – McGehee with 2,478 points; and first place – El Dorado, 2,758. The middle school division winners were: third place – Monticello with 2,705 points; second place – Hamburg with 2,248 points; and first place – Barton with 2,905 points. The high school division winners were: third place – Rison with 2,717 points; second place – McGehee with 3,079 points; and first place, Hamburg with 3,299 points.
Sherry Knight, Monticello Middle School archery sponsor, said this was the first year the program required a regional tournament to qualify for state. This is also the first year she’s had a sixth grade archery team.
“We’ve never had a sixth grade archery team because sixth grade is in the elementary division,” she said. “It was just too hard for us to take them to state on Friday and then turn around and do it all again on Saturday for the middle schools division.”
Knight said she’s tried for years to get the state archery tournament to allow the sixth grade students to compete in the middle school division because they can do so at the national tournament. However, she has not been successful.
Knight said she felt like the addition of the regional would give the sixth grade students experience under their belts so she decided to form a sixth grade team this year.
Since the MMS sixth grade team placed third in the tournament, they qualified to attend state. However, Knight said the sixth grade team will not be competing in the state competition this year.
“It’s just too hard on us to go and take them to state and be up there all day to get home at midnight and then leave at 4 a.m. with the other middle school team,” Knight said. “They knew this going into the tournament. They just forgot about it.”
Knight said the average elementary team scores around 3,000 points, and the sixth grade team’s score is too low at 2,388 to take to the state compe tition.
“I’m very proud that these students qualified for the state tournament in their first year of archery,” Knight said.
“They have worked very hard. They’ve got a year under their belts and we can build on what they’ve already learned.”
Knight said next year the state tournament will be realigning it’s divisions to reflect true grade levels.
“We are a true middle school with sixth, seventh and eighth grades. Next year, the middle school division will be made of sixth, seventh, and eight grades,” she said. “So this won’t be an issue after this year.”
Knight said she’s proud that Monticello was able to host the first regional archery tournament, and hopes the district will be able to host many more over the years.
She’d also like to thank everyone who worked hard to bring the event together including the approximate 1,000 workers, volunteers, participants, coaches and spectators who attended Saturday’s tournament.
Southeast Medical Emergency Services (SEEMS) volunteered to staff the event as a precautionary measure. However, no one needed medical attention.
The state tournament will be held on March 15-16 in Hot Springs. The MMS archery team will compete on March 16.