By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Archery students make nationals
Placeholder Image

Spoony Sizemore never expected to be such a good shot. Five months ago, he’d never even picked up a bow and arrow.
But Spoony finished first among all fourth-graders in Tennessee last week during a state archery tournament in Murfreesboro. It earns him a trip to national competition in Louisville, Ky., May 13-14.
“I had never shot before, or even gone hunting before,” said Spoony, who just began archery through a program at West Elementary. “Now it’s something I like doing.”
While Spoony is the only one to win his grade level, six other Warren County students earned the chance to compete individually at nationals thanks to their showing at the state tournament. In addition, Warren County Middle School has earned the right to compete as a 24-member team at nationals.
West Elementary gym teacher Kathie Hodge is one of the people spearheading the local archery program that was started in 2007 at WCMS by Mary Greer. Right now archery is only in three schools – West, Bobby Ray and Warren County Middle School – but Hodge hopes to expand it as soon as next year.
“It’s a sport that really helps their focus and concentration,” said Hodge. “And it’s safe as long as the archers are safe because they could shoot someone if they’re out here goofing around. These are not toy arrows. They are the real McCoy and they’ll go through someone.”
Hodge says it cost West around $2,000 to get its archery program up and running. That includes targets, bows, arrows, a safety curtain, and other essential items.
In competition, students get to shoot 30 arrows – 15 arrows from 10 meters, and 15 arrows from 15 meters. The very center of the target is worth 10 points. Other rings are worth 9, 8, 7, etc., as you get further away from the center. The top score is 300 points.
In winning the state as a fourth-grader, Spoony scored 222. WCMS student Robert Balderas posted the top local score with a 263, which was good for a fourth-place finish in the more difficult sixth-grade division.
“It takes lots and lots of practice,” said Hodge, who estimates it will take a score around 290 to win nationals. “There will be shooters coming from all over the United States. I know there are already some registered from Alaska, Idaho and North Dakota.”
One factor that’s important, according to Hodge, is bringing the arrow straight back. Any movement from side to side will send it off target.
Aiming mistakes are magnified when going from the 10-meter range back to 15 meters. It might not seem like much, but it makes a big difference when aiming at a tiny center.
During practice Monday afternoon, Spoony and fellow fourth-grader Emily Turner showed accurate marksmanship from 10 meters. Emily hit the 10-point area three times and Spoony hit it twice. But it was harder to be so precise when they moved back to 15 meters.
“They have to aim a little higher to compensate for the arrow falling as it travels,” said Hodge. “It’s not as much for Spoony because he can use a 20-pound bow, but Emily has a 17- or 18-pound bow so it doesn’t go as fast for her.”