In year two, the Seymour Archery Club has continued hitting its goals.
The club has significantly increased its scores and nearly doubled in size, as it has continued to turn heads statewide at the high school level.
Seymour increased the team from 24 to 45 kids from the 2015-16 to 2016-17 school year and now has seven coaches guiding the students instead of three.
Thanks to numerous donations, the club was able to purchase more equipment going into this season — which has allowed more archers to participate.
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Double the number of archers can now practice in Seymour’s auxiliary gym.
The season started in September for the archers and could potentially go all the way to the end of July.
“There are definitely bigger numbers this year,” Seymour senior Jackson Boyt said. “Last year, we were just a small club. Now we’re a big team. It’s amazing that people are starting to pay attention to archery.”
The squad recently shot 3,297 to win the Region 8 title, so it again will advance to the National Archery in the Schools Program’s state competition in Indianapolis on March 11 at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.
Last year, Seymour qualified for state with a score of 3,106.
“It was a tremendous improvement,” Seymour coach Jill Purkhiser said. “We come in at eighth of 31 high schools that qualified for state this year.”
Seymour brought two teams to the region this year, and just missed getting both through to state.
Should Seymour score high enough in Indy, they will return to the Nationals competition in Louisville, Kentucky in May.
While the team qualified for Worlds last year, combining for 3,182, they weren’t able to make the trip to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Purkhiser said that if they get past Nationals again, the team plans on making the trip to Worlds, which will take place in Orlando, Florida, in July.
“It’s a little overwhelming,” Purkhiser said smiling. “We’re only two years old, and we’re doing so well. I’m so happy to see it grow and the kids be back in here every morning.”
On April 1, the team will host their first-ever invitational at Seymour High School, which they hope becomes an annual competition in the future.
The invite will take place in both the Lloyd E. Scott Gymnasium and auxiliary gym at Seymour, hosting 720 archers.
There will be 10 flights, starting at 8 a.m., with an awards ceremony at the end of shooting. Admission is $5.
Outside of the competitive events and practices, students not involved with the club are also picking up archery.
Purkhiser was presented a unique opportunity.
“Two weeks ago, I got to teach physical education classes,” Purkhiser said. “I ended up teaching archery to around 390 kids in a two-week span.
“It was fantastic. Just seeing the kids walk up scared to touch the bow, and by the time they’re in the second round they have all the confidence in the world.”
Purkhiser said that archery is continuing to create lasting relationships, and help kids better focus inside and out of the school.
“We make it fun, I challenge them,” Purkhiser said. “They tell me that they’re more focused in the classroom and in other things in life. They know they can be in control, and archery has given that to them. This is a lifetime sport.
“We are an archery family. If someone is having problems: we deal with it. If someone is having a good time: we celebrate. If someone is having a down time: we cry with them.”