Anticipation, nervous ticking and the steady hum of archers hitting their mark echoed off the walls in the Lloyd E. Scott Gymnasium.

The buzz and anticipation in the venue resonated from the range to the fans in the wooden bleachers.

This past weekend, 260 archers took form at the first Seymour Invitational.

Fifteen teams hailing from southern Indiana made the pilgrimage to Seymour High School.

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The funds raised from the event will pay for entry fees for national and world finals and also help pay for new supplies, such as bows, arrows and new targets for the team.

The competition’s ages ranged from elementary to high school.

By the day’s end, Seymour placed third out of the high school winners.

Other age divisions, individual winners and team winners were awarded for their hard work in the competition.

“I love the sport. It’s the only sport where girls and boys compete on the same level at the same time,” Seymour coach Jill Purkhiser said. “The kids and the smiles are why I do what I do.”

Purkhiser said she would love to continue hosting more competitions like this one in the future.

Saturday’s competition not only helped raised funds for the program but allowed the archers to apply their skills to the test.

“It is a fun way to make money for the archery program,” Purkhiser said. “The competition is fantastic. We are just in our second year and continue to grow in number and in skill.”

Aside from coaching the archery team, Purkhiser has been assisting in special education archery.

Purkhiser also has helped 170 kids in physical education classes at Seymour High School learn and apply their skills to the sport. She hopes the lessons will recruit more kids into the program.

Purkhiser said the benefits of archery have helped students grow personally.

“Many of them are able to concentrate and focus in the classroom because of how they learned to focus and concentrate during archery,” Purkhiser said.

After senior Victoria Mahoney finished shooting, she shared how the sport has helped her.

“It’s all about having fun,” Mahoney said. “It’s such a good way to meet people, and anyone can do it with practice and hard work.”

Mahoney’s personal goal for the competition was to better improve her skills and have fun while doing it.

“We all want to get better to help benefit the team as a whole,” Mahoney said.

Freshmen Seth Warren agreed with Mahoney and Purkhiser, saying that the invitational made the team better.

“This competition will help improve our team’s skills and benefit us for the future,” Warren said.

More archers like Warren filled the gym to the brim to show and share their love for the sport and the thrill for the competition during this event.

From May 11 to 13, the archery Owls will compete in the National Archery in the Schools Program’s national tournament at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville.

Should Seymour score high enough, it will advance to the world tournament, which is June 20 to 22 in Orlando, Florida.

Chloe Baker is a sophomore at Seymour High School. She is a staff member of the student newspaper, The Owl. Send comments to jmorey@tribtown.com.