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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Participating in the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) competition was quite a thrill for Hebron Middle School students and coaches.
With a team score of 3,078, they were only 12 points away from early registration for the World Tournament in St. Louis, MO.
"Our two volunteer coaches, Mike Girtley and Gary Thompson and wife, Amanda, were on the edge of their seats patiently waiting in the coaches room for them to deliver the score sheets," said Hebron's Head Archery Coach Kimberly Rasner. "Once we got the scores and realized we qualified to shoot at the World Tournament, I was ecstatic. I began calling and texting all of the parents to spread the good news!"
Hebron archers Katelyn Hardwick, Jordyn Boyd, Dalton Curl, MyKayla Durien, Sam Ector, Morgan Geralds, Emily Harshfield, Ally Johnson, Cameron Keehn, Jaren Lindsay, Seth Girtley, Tessa Holden, Cory Liner, Mary Jo McAuliffe, Josee' Meredith, Taylor Meredith, Amanda Pennington, Hugh Rankin, Tyler Self, Tyler Thompson, MaKenna Vance, Katie VanderEspt, Alice White, and Dana Williams spent June 27-30 in St. Louis competing with the best bow and arrow participants in the world.
"This is a huge accomplishment for these archers considering the little time they have been involved and most of them haven't ever picked up a bow in their life," Rasner said, "Plus this is only the third year for the Hebron archery program."
At the World Tournament, Hebron placed 44th out of 57 with a total score of 3,043.
"This was slightly less than at Nationals but I was still very, very proud of their accomplishment," Rasner said noting that several schools, especially the private schools, start at third grade and Hebron begins at sixth grade.
"We had some really good statistics come out of the tournament," Rasner said. "Dana Williams shot her highest ever with a score of 250. Katelyn Hardwick fell in 52 percent of her grade level with a score of 243. Jordyn Boyd jumped from 240 at National's to 263 at World. Amanda Pennington was in the top 12 percent with a score of 273 and Hugh Rankin was in the top 36 percent with a score of 265."
Taylor Meredith was so inspired at going to World Competition and all the hard work they had to do to get there he wrote a poem:
Taylor's mother, Rebecca, said when he was a camp volunteer he participated in archery for the first time.
"He just loved it so when Hebron started it, he joined the team," Rebecca said.
Volunteer Coach Gary Thompson said it is important archery students enjoy participation but also acquire skills.
"We want them to learn but also have a lot of fun," he said.
Taylor will attend North Bullitt High School this fall where he will continue to learn under the tutelage of archery coach Kim Rasner and NBHS Archery Coach Assistant, Tyler Boston. His younger sister, Josee', will continue in archery as a Hebron eighth grader.
Hebron's archery team was initially funded through an NASP grant for $1,000. Principal Steve Miracle matched the grant which allowed Rasner to order six targets, 10 bows, two curtains, a bow rack, and a repair kit.
"We do at least two fundraisers a year," she said. "One is optional and one is mandatory. During our 2012-2013 season, we co-hosted our first tournament with North Bullitt and brought in a fair amount of money. North kept the gate money, softball did concessions, and Hebron kept the archer's fee."
Rasner feels archery has grown in schools because there are few, if any, limitations to participants.
"Archery can cater to many students from those in regular education to those with mild to moderate disabilities," she said. "This is just one of the reasons I have such a passion for the sport; it truly leaves no one out if the student is willing to put forth the extra effort."
"For example," Rasner continued, "There are archers that have learned to shoot with their teeth. Recently, I learned from one of my parents, Ricky White, which his daughter, Alice, shoots left handed, although she is right handed, because her vision is so bad out of her right eye. Alice strives to do well and it shows, because she is in our top 12."
Rasner desires that each of her archers is instilled the following: "Self-confidence, patience, discipline, focus (on the range and in the classroom), respect for themselves and others," she said.
Bullitt County Public Schools has over 13,000 students in grades kindergarten through 12. There are 25 school facilities, a certified staff of over 850 and a classified staff of over 850 working every school day to make the district the leader in educational excellence.
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True Archer My bow is my friend, My team is my family, My arrows are my protection, My target is my enemy, My gym is my kingdom, My coach is my leader, I am a true archer. And nothing will pull us apart.