BUCKHANNON – The Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School’s archery team took aim, and their collective arrows landed them in 12th place.
In the world.
That’s right – B-UMS’s archery team attended the National Archery in the Schools Program World Tournament in Nashville, Tennessee and placed 12th.
Forty-five different middle schools competed in the competition in Nashville this past weekend, July 25-27.
Russ Warner, head coach of the Upshur County archery and air rifle program, said his middle school team is one any coach would love to have.
“It was a dream season,” Warner said. “This was a middle school team that most coaches would have died to have. They’re just a fantastic group of kids.”
The team had a total score of 3,269, and a participant at the elementary-school level, Reese Curry, placed 13th.
Warner said there were not as many teams at the world competition as in the past.
“There weren’t as many teams because the only teams there were the first-place teams from every state in the U.S. and then the first-place team from every province in Canada and then the top 10 teams out of the United States, from the national [competition],” Warner said.
The middle school archery team took first place in the state and 12th place at the nationals.
“I just have a different breed of kids,” Warner said. “I had 200-some kids in my archery program this year, and that’s fourth grade through 12th grade, and out of those kids, maybe 8 percent of them are athletes in other sports. They aren’t interested in other sports, but they’re awesome kids, they would do anything for you, and they try so hard.”
Warner said he and his teams are already looking forward to next season, and he anticipates they’ll do as well or better in the coming seasons.
“Now they know they can compete with anybody,” Warner said. “You watch them over the next three, four years, this middle school team next year is going to be as good as they were this year, and the eight or nine kids that are moving up to the high school are going to solidify that high school team. The high school team next year has the ability to be in the top five in the nation.”
He said he sets goals for each of his teams every year, and they get higher each year, but his teams always reach their goal.
“I tell them they know they can shoot, and I know they can shoot, so each year I ask them to aim higher,” Warner said. “I told the high school team that their goal for next year would be to shoot a 3,420 – it’s never been shot in this state – but I know that team can shoot that as their state goal, their national goal will be a 3,440, which would put them top three in the nation.”
The archery and air rifle seasons are over for now, but air rifle starts up again the first Saturday or Sunday in October and archery will start again the first week of November.