Don’t tell the Seymour archery team the odds — they will defy them.
Time in and time out, the first-year club has proven it belongs with the best teams in the country; and on Friday, Seymour once again shocked the competition.
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Scoring a combined 3,182 at the National Archery in The Schools Program’s national high school tournament in Louisville, Kentucky, Seymour qualified for the world tournament in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Seymour’s coed team squeaked in, needing a 3,149 from 12 archers to qualify for the biggest archery event for high schoolers worldwide.
“We didn’t shoot what we have been doing all season, but we qualified,” Seymour coach Jill Purkhiser said. “They held it together and focused. To see them grow as archers and as people, it has been great. You see them make a bad shot, turn around and pull it together.
“You see growth. You see them asking me questions on how to hold the bow and what a bow string was to now asking technical questions. They have grown by leaps and bounds.”
More than 14,000 kids — a Guinness World Record — from 48 different states flooded the Kentucky Exposition Center to show off their accuracy skills.
Seymour brought two teams of 12 to nationals.
While they have mathematically advanced to worlds, Seymour will have to wait and see if they get to fill a spot.
“There is a qualifying score to get into worlds, and we shot above that,” Purkhiser said. “However, our low score put us in the third day of registration. There’s two other days of registrations that will fill up flights before we get a chance.
“We won’t know until June 3 if there are any openings yet. Some teams will qualify and not go, we have to hope that some teams decide to stay home.”
Senior McKenzie Spires led the Seymour archers with a personal best score of 283.
Spires said she started out shooting in the 250s, and has improved as the year has progressed.
“I feel amazing, it’s so great that we’ve made it for worlds in our first year,” Spires said. “I’m surprised and speechless. You always hope you do well and everyone else does well. I think we did well under pressure. We honestly didn’t think we would make it past state, it’s amazing.”
Julieann Jones came in at No. 2 for Seymour with 278 and Quentin Warren topped the boys for scoring with 270.
Abby Wiggam (268), Jackson Boyt (264) and Clayton Prater (264) rounded out the top-5 scores for Seymour.
Boyt, a junior, felt a little intimidated at first with hundreds of other archers lined up next to him, but settled in when it was time to shoot.
“It was slightly overwhelming, but awesome,” Boyt said. “I feel like Seymour did well, but we can improve. It’s great, I’ve never even been to state in any other sport.”
Purkhiser said she met teams from across the nation.
“The kids come from all over,” she said. “I talked to a coach from Alaska who flew in. They come in and spend three days, it’s great to meet people from California, Alabama, Texas — everywhere.”
The world competition will host teams from as far as Australia next month.
The Seymour’s club started up this past September, and has competed statewide since.
At the state tournament, Seymour competed with 2,100 other archers.
Seymour brought a big crowd with them for the 9:15 a.m. shoot.
“I’m thankful for everything,” Purkhiser said. “We had tons of supporters here, and it shows how much we’ve grown.”
As a club, the Seymour High School Archery team isn’t funded by the school, so they take donations.
To donate, contact head coach Jill Purkhiser at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Checks can also be written to Seymour High School Archery Club and mailed to the high school.
The club will need help should they get a spot at worlds.