Students take aim for state

Published 2:55 pm Thursday, August 9, 2018

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

Archery was a new option for summer camp at the YMCA of Chilton County this year.

The campers have honed their skills and will be participating in a Alabama Recreation and Parks Association state tournament on Aug. 11 in Dothan.

There was not a qualifying round for this competition. Twelve local students will compete in three different divisions. For most, it will be their first time competing in such a tournament.

Teacher Sondra Mitchell said archery has been offered as a part of the afterschool program, but this is the first time for it to be offered in the summer. She said the sport was one that any of the students could do regardless of their level of athletic abilities.

“Win, lose or draw, we just want to go and compete and see where they stand,” Mitchell said.

Several of the students have participated in other YMCA programs.

“I’ve always gone to the YMCA … afterschool program,” Gracie Brewer said. “It’s something to do in the afternoon, and I ended up liking it.”

When archery was offered afterschool, Brewer signed up and has enjoyed it. This experience led to her wanting to be a part of the summer program. She said her skills have improved.

While she consistently hits the target from 10 feet, Brewer said she still has some difficulty at 15 feet away.

“I hit a bullseye at 15 feet, only once though,” Brewer said.

She said she hopes to get a bullseye during the competition.

Cole Simmons said he has enjoyed the fun activities at the YMCA. He said he really enjoyed archery the first time he tried it.

“Every day we did it, I kept getting better and better,” Simmons said. “I love archery. It’s fun.”

He said he is focused on having fun at the competition, not necessarily winning.

Gentry Elmore said he had some prior experience with archery, but this will be his first tournament at this level. He said he is looking forward to seeing how well he can do.

He said he has enjoyed learning with Mitchell.

“I was amazed at how well she taught me, and I just kept progressing and progressing,” Elmore said.

He hopes to place at the tournament.

Emily Cleckler said she has enjoyed improving her skills, “meeting my goals to get in the yellow” on the target. She is hoping to do well in the tournament.