Seymour High School’s coed archery team once again shined in the national spotlight.
On Saturday, the archers — in the program’s second year — returned to the National Archery in the Schools Program’s national high school tournament in Louisville, Kentucky.
Scoring a school record 3,304 at the Kentucky Expo Center, Seymour qualified for the 2017 world tournament in Orlando, Florida, which will take place from July 21 to 22.
While they shouldn’t have a problem getting in, Seymour will have to wait until June to find out if they will get to make the trip.
“It was the first time we broke the 3,300-mark,” Seymour coach Jill Purkhiser said. “We shot a team best at nationals — what a great time to peak. We shot a world tournament qualifying score and will find out June 6 if we get in or not.
It’s a tier system and we’re on the third day. If there’s openings we’re in. That’s kind of what happened last year, but we shot nearly 120 points better than last year.”
With 18,615 archers in attendance — across multiple age groups and two tournaments — the event broke another world record.
Of 670 schools represented, Seymour placed 95th overall. In the high school division, the Owls were 91 of 248.
“(Finishing in the ) top 100, I was happy with that,” Purkhiser said. “This is the best in the nation, and we need to keep that in mind. This was the best of the best. We ran into people from Alaska, Missouri, Michigan, Alabama, Mississippi and all kind of different places.”
Of the 27 schools represented from Indiana, Seymour placed eighth.
The sport’s growth in the region has produced strong competition.
“Southern Indiana is well represented,” Purkhiser said. “Jennings County, Madison and South Decatur were the only three schools from our general location that beat us. A lot of teams there came to our invitational. That kind of tells you who we’re up against. We’re have some really good competition in our little area.”
Returning to the big stage, opposing teams and officials recognized Seymour’s unit.
“The president of Indiana NASP was working the line with us,” Purkhiser said. “He was one of the range officials. He came to me during the break and said that they haven’t heard anything but good things out of Seymour’s program. That made me feel good, and I made sure to tell that to our archers. They’re promoting Seymour and being ambassadors in the greatest way.”
At last year’s nationals, Seymour shot 3,182.
With a handful of returning archers, the team heeded the opportunity to compete with the best.
“I think we had more confidence this year,” Purkhiser said. “Of course, there were several on the team that are freshmen, so many weren’t on the team last year. We actually shot in the south wing, which holds 460 archers. It was really cool to be on that big of a stage.
We shot against a really good team out of Missouri which helped us. When you shoot against another good team that automatically makes both of you better. We saw some great, great scores out of our kids. It’s the top-12 that counts towards team score. I had kids who had never posted scores like they did at nationals. That’s encouraging.”
Seymour brought two teams of 12 to shoot at nationals.
Both John Barrett and Clayton Prater scored 283 on the day to lead Seymour. Seth Warren shot 281 and Auston Everman totaled 279.
Other top-12 scorers for Seymour included: Victoria Mahoney (278), Brittany VanDoren (276), Jadyn Ruble (274), JulieAnn Jones (273), Demetre Gallapoo (273), Daniel LeLand (270), Marie Armes (267) and Jasmine Bevers (267).
With limited funds in 2016, and unexpectedly qualifying for worlds, Seymour didn’t travel to the shoot.
As a club, the Seymour archery isn’t funded by the school, so they take donations.
While they have hosted multiple fundraising events this school year, they still need help getting to Orlando.
Should Seymour get a spot a worlds, registration will cost $35 per archer.
Travel expenses will be on the families of the archers.
“We have a little bit (of funds) but not nearly enough to send everyone,” Purkhiser said. “I’m probably going to have to ask them to meet down (in Florida) and pay their own way. I hate to do that because I have some who can’t afford to go.
We looked at a bus, but it would cost $8,600 to go. A lot of the kids have never been to Florida and several have never seen the ocean. We’re not going to Disney World, but I would like to take them to the beach and let them see the ocean.”
If you’re looking to help the archer, email coach Purkhiser at email@example.com or call 502-558-0366.