CHARLESTON, W.Va. — More than 750 youngsters from elementary to high school age in West Virginia are ready to toe the line and take 10 shots this weekend at the annual West Virginia Archery in Schools State Championship in Charleston.
“I will say the competition seems to be steep this year,” said Chris Scraggs who heads up the program for the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.
“I’ve let a few coaches know what was a high score last year is considered below this year, so they’ve got a lot of work to prove they are the best of the best,” he added.
Each team had to shoot a qualifying round to get into the state tournament. It’s the culmination of a season of archery shooting in the schools of West Virginia. The program, now in its 18th year, is organized as an extra curricular activity after school or part of the physical education curriculum in participating schools.
“We had over 96 schools enter their students or their teams into our qualifier,” said Scraggs
The event has students from the elementary school, middle school, and high school level. The event will include some home school students who also participate.
The program has been a popular edition to some schools and has become attractive because it appeals to everybody. The smallest girls and the largest boys compete on an even playing field. Everybody shoots open sights and all with the same bows at the same distance and at the same targets.
Typically held in the Charleston Coliseum, this year’s even has been moved to the Convention Center where the West Virginia Hunting and Fishing Show is annually held. Scraggs said it’s a larger venue to get more shooters through.
“Bigger venue, bigger hall and we’re going to have 80 targets. We have a total of 754 kids participating,” he said.
At the end of the day there will be top teams at the elementary, middle, and high school level along with top individual shooters from those classes. This year’s event, for the first time will have an added prize, top male and top female shooters.
“We decided to do an overall male first place and overall female first place. With those will come prize bows donated by NASP and on the limb it actually says, ‘West Virginia Champion,'” he said.
Spectators are welcome and the admission is $5 for adults, ages 6-17 for $3, and kids under age six are admitted for free.