By Leila Dycus staff writer
Their banner says it all. “Every Arrow Counts” is the motto of the Morgan County 4-H Archery team and, this past weekend, the team kicked off fundraising for their trip to Nationals. “We got a great team of archers headed to Nebraska,” said Archery Coach Ashley Garner. “They shoot together, work hard together and have fun together. They are so appreciative of the support they are receiving from their community.” The archery team was busy this week spending the day at Tractor Supply selling lunch plates they headed to Loganville to compete in a tournament. Recently, the team qualified for Nationals that will be held in Nebraska. This summer, the team will be working to raise money to get to nationals and taking part in tournaments to prepare for the event.
From 10 am to 3 pm on Saturday the team, took to Tractor Supply for the stores Purina Days. At Purina Days, the shooters and their families sold lunch plates, helped people load their cars, and talked to patrons about their achievements. Parents and shooters grilled out burgers, sold chips, drinks and homemade sweet treats. Before the event, the team sold 160 plates in advance. “The fundraiser went great,” said Garner. “The team raised money for the trip and raised awareness in our community about our team.” The team raised about $2,500 at Saturday’s fundraiser. To date their donation total equals $1,900. This total includes money earned on Saturday as well as donations dropped off by community members at the 4-H office.
The team is committed to getting to nationals. Garner said that only six to eight archers from Georgia get to go to 4-H nationals. Morgan County will be sending seven archers to Nebraska. “I’m going to enjoy going out there and meeting people from all over the country and competing with people that are really good,” said archery team member Jonathan Garner. Another coach Brian Mitchell said that archery has had a huge impact on the lives of these students. Mitchell went on to say that he has watched these kids work with special needs students and teach them to shoot. It’s the students’ character that has been influenced through the sport. “I choose to be involved in 4-H archery because I feel that it would have expanded my shooting abilities and it would have gotten me further than if I had done it by myself,” said team member Jacob Vaughters. Something that should be known about these kids is that they are a team, committed to helping one another and encouraging each other.
This summer the team will take part in a number of different tournaments to prepare them for challenge of nationals. “As coaches we can’t wait to watch their faces as they step on the line to shoot for the first time and realize they are at nationals,” said Garner. Saturday evening the team traveled to Loganville to participate in a tournament. This tournament was a 900 round and took almost five hours to complete. Garner said that it was a marathon and it taught their shooters to pace themselves and stay focused from beginning to end.
At time during the tournament shooters can lose track of how many arrows they have shot and how many they have left to complete the event. It’s during these times that they shooters aren’t distracted and they focus on their form and shooting their best. Tournaments like the one Saturday are great learning and teaching experiences. At the Loganville tournament Tori Armor was awarded second cadet compound female and Hattie Ivey was awarded third cadet compound female. Josh Carver was first cadet compound male.
Coach Danny Pincus is coordinating efforts to take the team to a 3-D tournament. This will teach the students to learn to estimate distance. This type of tournament will prepare them for that part of the national competition. Saturday’s fundraising was just one of many efforts to come from the 4-H archery team. Be on the lookout for more information about the team as they prepare for their nationals run.